Reading with children

Reading with children is one of the most enjoyable things a parent, grandparent or carer can do, and as a bonus it helps their language development.

Shared reading is different to guided reading, which is when you listen and help your child practice reading aloud.

While it is not the case that children learn to read simply by being read to, shared reading is one of the essential literacy experiences that contribute to children becoming good and willing readers. Books contain words, grammar and language structures that are different to conversational language. Shared reading is important for children of all ages. It needn’t stop when they are able to read independently.

Shared reading is largely about nurturing a love of reading and books and language but there are some things that will make the experience especially beneficial for children.

One of the keys is to read with your child, rather than to your child.

Involve children in the reading experience by letting them choose books, discussing the story and the characters, talking about the sounds and meanings of the words, and talking about the pictures.

Author Louise Park gives great advice on choosing books here.

“I think if parents realised that reading never just happens, that reading is the tip of an iceberg that begins with children’s first language acts and involves vocabulary growth, feeling at home in the world of letters. If I could get across to parents that one of the best things they could to is first read to their child, maybe 5 minutes, maybe 10 minutes – but every day – and to give an example of reading as part of our lives.”
Dr Maryanne Wolf

Simple tips for shared reading that will enhance children’s literacy development and enjoyment:

With younger children:

With older children:

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