How to

Reading to young children (aged 3-6 years)

Why read to children not yet at school? Well, because it will help their minds to expand and their hearts to sing! Read with your children regularly and you will witness just how much they learn and what they can do with books! Here are some ideas for sharing books together:

Reading tips for 3 to 6 year olds:

  • Read the title of the book and the name of the author and illustrator each time you read a book to your children. The first time you read a book with your children, ask them if they can guess what it might be about from listening to the title and looking at the illustration on the cover.
  • Read aloud for your children until they feel they want to try reading books on their own. When you read aloud for them, you are their reading role model, teaching them invaluable knowledge about how we read books.
  • Read with as much expression as you can. You may feel a little odd about doing this in the beginning but your children will appreciate it!
  • Being able to guess what comes next as you are read is a skill competent readers use all the time. As you read a story with your children, develop these prediction skills by asking ‘What do you think will happen next?’  at different points in the story.
  • Deepen your children’s understanding of the stories you read by asking other questions too. You might want to ask some of these questions as you read a story, while other questions can be discussed after you have finished reading. Questions like ‘What does that remind you of?’, ‘Why do you think he did that?’ and ‘What would you have done?’ help children to explore books. Talking about stories in these ways helps children to understand how stories work – another essential literacy skill!
  • Introduce your children to as wide a variety of books as possible. Share books by the authors that they most enjoy, but introduce them to new authors too. Click here for more information on how to choose books to read with your children and some of the books that your children might enjoy.
  • Repeat children’s favourite stories as often as they ask for them! As they get to know the stories better, invite them to read along with you. Suggest that they ‘read’ (recite) the repeated phrases and sentences like I’ll huff and I’ll puff and blow your house down’or ‘Trip, trap, trip trap’.
  • Set aside a special time each day when you can enjoy books together. Choose books that you like as well as ones you think will be of special interest to your children. And, of course, also make time to read the stories that your children choose themselves.
  • Introduce your children to as wide a variety of books as possible. Share books by the authors that they most enjoy, but introduce them to new authors too. Click here for more information on how to choose books to read with your children and some of the books that your children might enjoy.