Tips for reading with your child

Babies first year:

  • Choose something simple and uncluttered. Black on white or white on black are best for newborns. Progress to primary colors, and on from there.
  • If possible, hold your baby on your lap, creating a cozy, cuddly time that promotes security.
  • Use good facial expressions, tone of voice, and fun sounds.
  • Babies love rhythm and rhyme and repetition.
  • Infants like to see babies in books.
  • Touch and feel books add the use of another one of their senses.
  • As your baby discovers his/her hands, allow him/her to hold the book, touch it, and turn the pages. Allow exploration while showing that a book is different from an ordinary toy.

Toddlers:

  • Choose books with clear, large, realistic pictures. Touch and Feel books and Lift the Flap books are very popular.
  • Use good facial expressions, tone of voice, and fun sounds.
  • If possible, hold your toddler on your lap creating a cozy, cuddly time, which promotes security.
  • Point to pictures and ask your child questions like; "What it is? or "What is it doing?" or "What do you think is going to happen next?"
  • Read a loved book over and over. Toddlers love to hear their favorite books many times and will often fill in the words when you pause.
  • Let them hold the book, touch it, and turn the pages. Allow exploration while showing that a book is different from an ordinary toy.

Preschoolers:

  • Choose books that are not so lengthy, but have a fun story. Preschoolers also love books on numbers and colors, or ones with nonsense sounds. They generally love baby animals, puppies and kittens, and "pop ups" and "push the button" books.
  • If possible, hold your child on your lap creating a cozy, comforting time, which promotes security.
  • Read a loved book over and over letting your preschooler fill in the words. Point to the words, so they know the letters mean something.
  • Let them "take charge" and hold the book and turn the pages.
  • Use different voices for different characters as you read. Add sounds to what is happening in the story.
  • Ask them questions about the characters in the story as you read. "Why do you think the monkey was scared?" or "How do you think Clifford got so big?"

5 and 6 Year Olds:

  • Enjoy books with animals that talk, simple fairy tales, princesses and princes, dinosaurs, alphabet books, pop up books, books where they can find words that they know. And if they're reading, books that they can read all by themselves.
  • Let your child choose a number of books that they'd like, and add two or three that you get to choose. Provide a variety of types of books, nonfiction, poems, picture books, etc.
  • Sit close, on lap if they would like that, allowing for a bonding time and a feeling of security.
  • Read the story with enthusiasm, good facial expression, voices, etc.
  • Ask questions during the story and encourage your child to ask questions.

7 and 8 Year Olds:

  • Enjoy choosing their own books.
  • Enjoy more complex stories, joke and riddle books, search and find books, humorous poetry.
  • They like books they can read themselves and they like to read out loud. They still like being read to as well, and enjoy a chapter or two at a time and the excitement of waiting to see what is going to happen next.
  • Use good expression so the story comes alive.
  • Talk about the characters and things that are happening. Encourage questions.

9 an 10 Year Olds:

  • Want to choose their own books. Enjoy mysteries, informational books, drawing books, disgusting joke books, adventure books, drawing books, and trivia and fascinating facts.
  • Enjoy taking turns reading together, or like being read to if they are not feeling well and need the distraction.

11 and 12 Year Olds:

  • Want to choose their own books. Enjoy series books, true stories, science fiction, adventure and survival stories, mysteries and horror stories. Enjoy reading magazines.
  • Like to be read to when they are not feeling well and need the distraction.
  • Use good expression so the story comes alive.
  • Ask interesting questions and encourage questions from them especially ones that cause them to really think and that might lead to checking out other sources for answers.

13 and up:

  • Interests and needs vary a lot. Ask your child what they would like and if they would like you to read to them. When reading utilize the suggestions listed above.