Bring Out The Diva In You: Making Stories Come To Life!
(Mommy Mariel Uyquiengco shares her tips on how to read aloud to your child)
I have the biggest stage fright ever. I spent excruciating minutes trying to say the word “through.” In front of a class. In college. I was reading an essay and my mouth kept saying “thooo.” Over-sharing here is part of my strategy to recover from this over-a-decade-old embarrassment. I wish my classmates could see me now, though, because when it comes to reading aloud to my children, my inner diva comes out. I throw away my inhibitions and fully immerse myself in the different roles that story time requires: actress, director, musician, artist, etc. Somehow, my playful self does not stumble on silly words like “through.” 🙂
Basic Reading Aloud Tips
These are the things I always do when I read to my kids, whether it’s a board book or a chapter book.
Read slowly and clearly – This is the most basic rule of all when it comes to reading to children. When you read in a hurry – poof! – you would immediately lose your most important audience.
Pronounce words to depict meaning – Children can derive the meaning of a word just by the way that you read it. When you encounter the word high, use a sing-song voice, for low, use a deep, growly voice, for silent, use a quiet voice. Easy peasy!
Wear a costume – Reading about a witch? Put on a witch’s hat and watch magic happen! Our costume box is also full of ribbons, gowns, and discarded clothing that are just perfect for getting into the mood of a story.
Assign voices to characters – Children love silly voices. It will immediately capture their imagination when you use a unique voice for each character in the book that you are reading. This is so great especially for long chapter books. I myself can get lost trying to read long passages. Trying to remember that Piglet says Chwistophew Wobin and that Eeyore t-a-a-alks v-e-e-e-e-ery sl-o-o-o-owly keeps me on my toes!
Read as if the book were a script – If you’ve read a book at least five times, chances are your child would have memorized some parts already. Let her say her lines! When your child is reading already, no matter how slowly, you can take turns reading. This is good reading practice that makes your child more involved too. When she gets tired or gives up, carry on. You don’t have to do this for the whole length of a book.
Act out some scenes – Look for action words that you and your child can do. When a character tiptoes, ask your child, can you tiptoe like him? Or, oh! he leaned over the window, can we do that too? One of the most memorable things that we did was to pretend to be an acrobat when we read The Runaway Bunny. A year or so after doing it, my daughter still finds it fascinating to “balance” on a tile line and pretend that she’s an acrobat.
This blog entry first appeared in Mommy Mariel’s blog: http://www.thelearningbasket.com/2012/06/bring-out-diva-in-you-making-stories.html
Mariel Uyquiengco is a Kindermusik educator, a homeschooling mom, and an advocate of the idea that parents are their children’s first and best teacher. You can find her writing at www.thelearningbasket.com and promoting pre-loved books by the best authors and illustrators at her online bookshop (www.facebook.com/thelearningbasket).