We all know that reading is a big part of learning and a milestone for all preschoolers. But did you know that reading aloud to your child can have many benefits? While it is important for children to learn how to read independently, being read to is also very important.
Reading aloud to children promotes literacy development, broadens imaginations, and enhances language development. To help get you started, I have a simple (and free!) set of read aloud lesson plans for preschoolers that you’ll love this school year!
Benefits of Reading to Kids
There are so many benefits of reading aloud to children of all ages, but especially for young children and preschoolers. Reading aloud to children helps them learn new words, follow along with a story, and even improve their literacy skills.
It is also the best way way to bond with your child and spend some quality time together with their favorite books.
Some of the benefits of story time with your child include:
- Improving their listening skills
- Increasing their vocabulary
- Fostering a love of reading
- Improving focus skills like understanding and predicting
How often should I read aloud to my kids?
Reading to your child should be a party of their daily routines. It’s a great way to bond with them and help them learn about the world around them. Try picking books that have to go with your weekly theme, their favorite animal, or a current event, season, or holiday.
Whether you’re a homeschool mom reading to your own child or a preschool teacher reading to the whole class, making learning experiences out of children’s books makes for a great book introduction.
How long should I read aloud?
It’s important to keep in mind that reading should be enjoyable for both you and your child. If they’re not enjoying it, then you’re probably reading for too long.
A good rule of thumb is to start with 5-10 minutes and then increase the time as your child gets older. If they’re really enjoying the book, then feel free to keep going!
What if my child isn’t ready to sit still?
Most experts agree that you should read for at least 15 minutes a day. If your child is having trouble sitting still, try reading for shorter periods of time throughout the day. You can also break up the reading by having them do an activity in between, such as coloring or playing with a toy.
Another idea is to try reading while they’re in the bathtub or before bedtime when they’re already in a relaxed state.
What type of books should I read to my kids?
Making you child feel like they’re a part of the story and experience is a great way to help them look forward to your reading time.
But how do you go about choosing books to read aloud to your child? There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. First, look for books that are interesting and engaging. If the book is
For very young children, look for interactive read alouds with bright colors and simple illustrations.
As they get a little older, you can progress to picture books and then chapter books. The typical thought is to read two levels above where you child is reading. This way they can follow along but also be challenged a little bit.
What are some tips for reading aloud to kids?
To keep your students or kids involved, try interactive reading. You may be asking, “Uh, what exactly is read aloud time include and why do you need lesson plans for them?”
Interactive read-aloud time, or intentional read aloud time, is a method of reading a book aloud where the teacher or parent does the work of decoding the words, and the children do the thinking and comprehending work. It helps the child better understand the meaning of the text better whether it’s a new book or a familiar favorite.
It’s much more than just reading a story out loud while the children sit and listen. An interactive read aloud has the children actively participating in the activity by asking questions, making predictions, and answering questions so they understand the overall message. Interactive read aloud lessons should be exciting and something that everyone is looking forward to!
Although this type of reading can work for kids of all ages, but obviously will look different for a 2 year old versus a 4 year old.
Planning for Read Aloud Time
You may be wondering what your read aloud lesson plans should include so let’s talk about those. The first step to making a read aloud lesson plan is to have a template for them. Lesson plan templates help walk you through the thing you need to make sure your teaching time is well-rounded and thought out.
The next step is to pick an engaging book that works with your preschool theme. The easiest way to do this is to plan out your weekly themes in advance and then select a book that goes along with that for your reading lesson. For example, if you are doing an ocean theme one week, you could read The Rainbow Fish or Clumsy Crab. Talking about the forest? Brown Bear is a great choice.
Next, you want to make sure you have some questions to ask before, during, and after reading the story. These questions will help guide the conversation and make sure everyone is comprehending the story. Reading the book ahead of time so you have some background knowledge is helpful when you’re putting your reading strategies together.
A few good examples of questions to ask as part of your comprehension strategies are:
- “What do you think this book is about?”, as you look over the cover of the book together.
- “Let’s make a prediction about what might happen in the story?”
- “What was your favorite part of the book?”
- “Did anything in the book remind you of something that has happened to you?”
Open-ended questions where the child can share their thoughts are the best. You want to encourage them to think critically about what they are hearing. Many teachers like to use sticky notes inside of the book to remind them where to stop and what to say.
Pick out two to three vocabulary words you want to introduce your young readers to. Stop and teach these vocabulary words as they come up in the book in a way that they can understand. For example, the word feast. “Feast means a really large, fancy dinner”.
Finally, you will want to have some sort of activity or extension for after the story is over. This could be a related science experiment, craft, game, or anything else that ties in with the book.
But don’t feel like planning has to be a long, stressful situation. You might prefer a detailed lesson plan, but if go with the flow if is more your style your child is going to learn and enjoy the time, even if you don’t write everything down or plan the most fun activities ever.
If you follow these steps, your read aloud lesson plans will be much more effective and engaging!
Interactive Read Aloud Lesson for the Classroom
A fun thing about early childhood classroom learning is the opportunity to make new friends while enjoying great books. Reading a book to the group can start a whole class discussion with good friends that enjoy similar topics. Younger children can have meaningful conversations with each other in a fun way with other little faces that share the same reading skill and level of language skills.
The read-aloud books can encourage friendships and exploring big ideas in centers and rich opportunities in centers or other fun activities with a buddy. When you use some the following strategies to encourage the love of children’s books, you’ll find that reading will quickly become one of your students’ favorite times of the day. There’s no better way to introduce reading and all those amazing books!
Not ready to plan? Save the image below to your favorite reading Pinterest board so it’s easy to find when you need it!
Read Aloud Activity Ideas
Whether you’re focusing on at home learning or in the classroom reading, after reading the book you are going to want your preschoolers to participate in some follow-up activities about the story. These can include having them draw a picture about the story or re-telling the story to a family member at dinner.
In fact, mealtime is a great time to engage in a conversation about story elements. And because it’s been a bit since your child has heard the book, it’ll give you an idea of the effectiveness of your read time.
You can print picture story cards about the book and have them place them in sequential order. This is a great hands-on way to discuss what did and did not occur in the story in a follow-up activity.
You could also do a simple science experiment related to the book. For example, if you read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you could do an activity with real caterpillars! Butterfly kits are available on Amazon and are fascinating for everyone in the family.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to read aloud activities for preschoolers. The most important thing is to get creative and have fun with it! And don’t forget to grab your free copy of my interactive read aloud planner.