Read-aloud hints
         Itís become common knowledge to many of us that reading aloud to
children is an activity that encourages children to read when they start school.
Here are a few tips that can help you when it comes to reading aloud to your
children:

        Start early. Match the attention span to the length of the book if the child is
very young.

        Make it a regular part of your family routine. 

        Different levels of books are appropriate for different children. If you have a
wide range of ages in the family, it would be best to have separate
read-aloud times for individual children or pairs that are close in age.

        Books that are written slightly above your childís level are excellent for
stretching their intellect.

        For younger children, a high degree of correlation between words and
illustration can help them to recognize words as they read.

        Use funny voices for characters in the stories you read. 

        When you find an author that your child likes, get other books by the same
author. Read information about the author from the bookís cover.

        Special note to dads: since most pre-school and elementary school teachers
are women, your reading to your children (and especially to your sons) will
heighten the importance of books in the eyes of your children.

        Make sure that your children see you reading on your own, and tell them
about the kinds of books and periodicals that you like to read. This is the most
visible example to show the importance of reading.

        Vary your reading to include non-fiction as well as fiction. This is especially
important for boys. They have a greater interest in non-fiction topics:
dinosaurs, sharks, tigers, airplanes, trucks, and volcanoes are subjects that
strike their fancy more than fairy tales and other made-up stories.

        Discuss the books after you read them. 

        Give your child an opportunity to read to you. Even before the child can
read words, the process of telling the story by looking at pictures is great
practice for children.
 
         Above all, keep in mind that reading is a year-round activity - not just
during the school week or school year.

         This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents.

 
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