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  • Writer's pictureSaY India

How to Read Aloud to a child that won't sit still

Reading aloud to young children, particularly in an engaging manner, promotes emergent literacy and language development and supports the relationship between child and parent. In addition it can promote a love for reading which is even more important than improving specific literacy skills!

When parents hold positive attitudes towards reading, they are more likely to create opportunities for their children that promote positive attitudes towards literacy and they can help children develop solid language and literacy skills. When parents share books with children, they also can promote children's understanding of the world, their social skills and their ability to learning coping strategies.

But Reading Aloud especially to small kids is no mean feat. For some children, sitting quietly while listening to a book is more tedious than fun. If your child struggles to pay attention or sit still while you’re reading together, here are some tips that may help:

1. Pick interactive books. Whether it’s searching for something on each page, like with an I Spy book, or touching parts of the picture, like with Press Here, a book that actively draws a reader in can help keep them engaged during storytime.

2. Let them do something with their hands. Pass out the crayons or play dough or give them a puzzle to do while you read aloud to them. If they can keep their hands busy and their attention focused on a task, they may be more willing to listen to the story.

3. Try different times of day. Some times of day work better for certain children. The afternoon, when they are wound up and ready to play, may not be the best. Try bedtime when they’re anxious to stay up a little longer, or at mealtime while they eat, or first thing in the morning snuggled up together in the grown-up bed.

4. Give them an overview of the story first. Some children struggle with books because they have a hard time following the plot. Before you start reading, explain to them what they can expect from the story and few things they may want to look for either in the storyline or the illustrations.

5. Don’t push too hard. Some children just need to mature a little before they are ready to embrace reading. Don’t turn them off to it by making it a consistently miserable experience. Give them some space, try again frequently, and model a love of reading for them.

Our goal is to motivate children to want to read so they will practice reading independently and, thus, become fluent readers. That happens when children enjoy reading. We parents can do for reading what fast food chains do for hamburgers? ADVERTISE! And we advertise by reading great stories and poems to children.

We can help our children find the tools they need to succeed in life. Having access to information through the printed word is an absolute necessity. Knowledge is power, and books are full of it. But reading is more than just a practical tool. Through books we can enrich our minds; we can also relax and enjoy some precious leisure moments.

With your help, your children can begin a lifelong relationship with the printed word, so they grow into adults who read easily and frequently whether for business, knowledge, or pleasure.

Remember, it's Your Voice, Their Imagination!


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