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Parent Resources


Reading Aloud with a Child

Have you read with a child today?

  • “Lasting, positive outcomes for children, families, and communities.”
  • “Practically free” and can be done anywhere
  • Adults who aren’t fluent readers can tell stories from life or imagination, or from pictures in a book
  • Share books early and often

What are the results of reading aloud?

  • Expanded knowledge and vocabulary
  • Improved attention span and memory
  • Increased curiosity and imagination
  • Greater self-esteem, empathy, and confidence
  • Stronger, closer relationships
  • Higher educational achievement and quality of life


Reading with Babies

  • Snuggle, eye contact, voice inflection
  • Slow down and enunciate each word, linger on a page if baby is interested
  • Babies are absorbing social context; Smile, relax, and enjoy. Have fun!
  • Short segments of just a few minutes or pages; watch for disinterest or fussiness

Reading with Toddlers

  • Three Rs: Rhythm, rhymes, and repetition
  • Break 20 minutes into smaller segments
  • Discuss the story: Who, what, why, when, where and how questions; interaction is more important that “correct answers”
  • Smile, relax, and listen
  • Allow time for processing (count to 5), don’t expect an immediate response 

Reading with preschoolers

  • Talk about characters and their actions
  • Ask questions (who, what, etc), emphasize the meaning of the story
  • Introduce numbers, colors, shapes, and classification
  • Poems and rhymes emphasize a language’s sounds
  • 20 minutes/day from birth to preschool = over 400 hours of reading experience

Reading with school-age children

  • Encourage letter recognition, sound blends, rhymes
    • Blending = joining sounds together smoothly
  • K-2 students are practicing accuracy, fluency, and comprehension
  • Independent reading by 3rd grade, but reading aloud is still important: developing skills, more challenging vocabulary, more complex plots
  • Listening level is generally higher than reading level, exposes young readers to rare vocabulary
  • Vocabulary expansion is critical for later comprehension skills

TL,DR: Make the most of reading aloud with children.

  1. Have fun and enjoy reading together. Smile, relax and focus on your child.
  2. Pick interesting topics. Reread favorites. Borrow a variety of library books.
  3. Read with enthusiasm and expression. Change your voice, volume and tempo.
  4. Pause to talk about the story, words, and pictures. Encourage conversations.
  5. Check for understanding. Ask and answer questions; explain new concepts.
  6. When your child reads, be positive and patient. Appreciate your child's effort.

For more tips on reading aloud, visit The Children's Reading Foundation.

Logging books for the Summer Library Program counts as books for 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, too!

Looking for a paper log? Download and print your own!

Cook With Your Kids!

Books About Books

Reading As a Family


How to read for 20 minutes a day

What counts for your child’s 20 minutes each day? Anything! If you’re reading to your child or they are reading on their own, it counts. And it doesn’t have to be 20 consecutive minutes. Break it up in whatever way works for your family.

What counts as reading?

Check each of the following activities and see if it counts towards your child’s 20 minutes of daily reading.

Reading a book

Yes! Reading a book is the most popular example of getting in your 20 minutes of reading.

Checking out a book

Not yet! Once you start reading, you’re set, though!

Reading the back of a book to choose your next read?

Yes! Back, front, inside? It doesn’t matter – if you’re reading, it counts!

Taking Swimming lessons

No, sorry. We’re not usually reading while swimming – and it tends to be hard on the books.

Watching TV with subtitles

Yes! Watching TV with subtitles is a great way to develop word recognition. 

Listening to audiobooks in the car

Absolutely! Listening to books is a great way to read.

Visiting a library

We love when you come visit us, but just walking in doesn’t count. But there are plenty of books to choose from or programs to take part in that will count!

Listening to a Vox Book read to you

Yes! Did you know you can check out books that will read to your child? Just ask a staff member when you visit for great suggestions or search the catalog here [LINK].

Reading a nonfiction book

Of course! Fiction or nonfiction. Any book counts!

Listening to a sibling, cousin or neighbor read aloud

Yes! And it counts for both the person listening and the person reading!

Reading a wordless book?

Yes! This can be a great way to get our youngest readers interested in books and develop their imagination.

Attending a library program

It does! Attending a library program counts as one of your reading sessions.

Reading in the morning, a little in the afternoon, and a bedtime favorite at the end of the day?

Sure! You don’t have to read for 20 minutes straight. If it adds up to 20 minutes throughout the day, it counts! 

Playing a game as a family

It can! If you’re reading instructions or cards as part of the game, then you’re reading!

Cook using a recipe

Yes! Recipes mean reading – and this is a great way to read together as a family activity.

Writing a story or journaling

Absolutely! You can write the words you’re reading.

Reading to your pet

Yes! It’s a great way to practice reading aloud.

Going to the grocery store

It can if you’re reading the product labels and information!

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