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14 Tips for Reading Fiction to and with Children

14 Tips for Reading To and With Children

14 Tips for reading fiction to and with childrenNot every children can read independently without any parent’s accompaniment. My children would run around when I asked them to do independent reading. Therefore, it will be better for you to read books to them or with them to give more

  • “quiet” habit in reading
  • confidence
  • peaceful feeling

Here are 14 tips for reading fiction to and with children.

Reading To Children

Reading to children means we read a book loudly to children. Children will be a listener and they can enjoy the pictures (if you use the picture books). Children can also follow the text along when you share the books or they have their own books.

Since children have less active roles in this activity, you should grab their attention so they won’t make any chaos during the activity

Choose the right books

The choice of books has great influence toward the reading activity. Here are some tips to choose the right books:

  1. The perfect books to choose should be suitable with the age, the level, and the interest of the children.
  2. Try to adjust the length of the books with the children characteristics. For example, if you have children with short concentration, don’t start from books with longer or more complicated content.
  3. To help you choosing a great book content, you might find out books that win the medals:
    • Caldecott Medal for the picture books
    • Newberry Medal for children books (usually not the picture books)
    • Pulitzer for more advance books
  4. You can also find out the book trend or new books with good review in some online book store before you look up the book in the library or purchase one.
  5. I have also selected over 152 books classified into:


Reading with the correct intonation to show the right expression is a must for reading fictions to children. If you find some problem with it, you can practice first before you read the story to children. How can you show the right expression?

  • When the atmosphere is gloomy, make it as gloomy as possible naturally.
  • When it is sad, children should be able to feel sad.
  • You should know the story well before you can give the right expression.

To conclude, the right intonation and expression will be able to help children to like and follow the story since the story will sound more alive. However, don’t be over-acting as it will make it not natural and strange.


Reading to children should include communication between children and you. It will make it different than letting children listen to a recording.

  • Ask their opinion about the story.
  • See their eyes to see how they are engaged.
  • Some physical communication can be made if you are parents reading to children. You can hold their hands and touch them as well.
  • Discussion is one way to communicate with children when you read a story to them.

Critical Thinking

As a part of communication, critical thinking is encouraged to build. Here are some tips for that:

  • If you find that your children are quiet, you can try to make a question to hook more questions and opinion from them.
  • Try to get children to the point of view of different characters in the story.
  • In the end, you can have some discussion about tweaking the story.


Praise is really powerful to boost children’s self confident.

  • Recognize children’s involvement in discussion and praise them.
  • Praise the children when you find them behave well and follow the rule.
  • Praise can be a positive “warning” when the children do something mischievous.

Being Sensitive

Reading to children needs concentration for both the children and the readers. Some distraction will make you loose concentration so that you can deliver the story well. On the other hand, lack of concentration can get children miss the content of the story.

  • Not every kid can concentrate in longer time. Certain amount of distraction can make them not focused to you. Therefore, you need to avoid distraction as much as you can. Be sensitive to the cause of distraction.
  • Kids will get bored easily when they don’t get the idea of the story interesting for them. You need to be sensitive when it happens and tweak your methods or planning soon.
  • Some children will stay quiet when they don’t understand about the story. Please be alerted when you find this case. Just help them to get connect before they are desperate.

Being Imaginative

With the less writing, you are demanded to explore the picture story books using your imagination to bring the story alive for children. One thing that you need to remember is that you need to do it naturally. There is a time that we cannot control ourselves to be over acting.

Try to be in detail and give more imagination to the story. For example, if you are reading to children about a flying bird, it is great for you to add some detail about what the bird sees, hears, and feels.

Set Brief Simple Rules

WHen you are a school teacher, it is not strange that you give rules to the students about how they need to behave when you read a story book to them. The purpose of giving rule is to make sure that the activity can work well for you and for children, so that children will get the best from the story.

Your children might ignore you at first, but you should try to maintain the rules to create more supportive environment. Here are some rules you might want to use:

  • Waiting for a pause to ask question.
  • Put up your hand (or whatever body language) to ask question.
  • Record the reading summary in a reading journal.
  • Turn up earlier before the reading is started (in certain time).

Reading with Children

Reading with children means you involve children to read a book together with you. It can be either the same book or different books at the same time and place.

Reading in turns

You can read the same book in turn with children.

  • You can change the turn in every 2 paragraphs, a page, or any other story division.
  • Children will practice how to listen to others when they are reading.
  • Reading in turns should reduce the clutters children might do while others are reading.
  • Children will learn how to respect others when they are reading a book. You need to give the emphasize of being respectful.
  • One book can go around based on the turn to read aloud.

Questioning Each Other

To engage children with reading comprehension, it is better for you to make question session. You and your children can ask questions by turns. if you have more than one child, they can ask each other about the cases to discuss in the book. Of course, everyone needs to read the same books. In the end, you can make a conclusion together. Your role in this activity is as a moderator for children to communicate their idea and critical thinking.

Model Reading Aloud

Reading together with children will need your model to read aloud.

  • Children can practice how to follow the punctuation marks in the story.
  • Children will practice how to read with the right intonation, pronunciation, and expression.

Follow up With Projects

If you get bored with the traditional reading comprehension question and answer, you might try to do some projects in the end of the reading activity. You might also discuss and have some opinion from children about the project you are going to have. If you have the picture story books, you can visit the 25 activities I posted previously.

Plan Your Reading with Them

I am pretty sure that every parent want their children have a regular reading habit. It will be useless when you make your own rule or schedule for them. Involving the children to make a regular reading time will make stronger motivation for children to meet the schedule. You should have less hard time to call them.

Let them Lead

When you read together with children, try to get them lead the activity.

  • They can prompt the discussion questions first
  • Children can show their positive authority in reading toward you
  • Children can read and bookmark the book
  • You try to follow what they want once. Let’s see how they can be responsible toward the reading activity.

This post is a part of the 5+1 Days to Enjoy Fictions with Children. Click the Picture below to read other related posts:

5+1 Days To Enjoy Fictions with Children


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