Amber Allen

Families are reading role models and promote the importance of literacy in a child’s life. Modeling engaged reading helps children form their beginning literacy skills. Children learn to use verbal and nonverbal communication including speech and sign language through early literacy skill development.  

Families play an important role in empowering young readers and making reading a fun and engaging process. There are many ways you can engage children while reading. Below are ways you can engage children with reading versus just reading the words on the page.   

Ask Questions-Examples for younger children may be “Do you see the cat?” “What color is that flower?” Examples for older children may include “How do you think Peter is feeling?” “Where do you think they will go next?” 

Give Explanations – Tell children your thought process to develop their critical thinking skills. For example, “This isn’t a tiger; it doesn’t have any stripes. The animal has a beautiful mane that’s what makes it a lion.”  

Draw Attention to Pictures-Pictures are an opportunity to expand learning and vocabulary beyond the words in the story. An example may be "Looks like the family has a dog, what sound does a dog make?" 

Encourage Kids to Recite Words Themselves-Whether it’s from memorization or they are starting to sound out words, have them help you read. Have those who are able read to you! 

Repetition is Good-Children may choose the same book repeatedly, this increases their comprehension of the words and story line. 

Let the Child Choose-Allowing the child to choose a book that interests them increases their interest in reading. 

Get Close-Physical touch increases the child-caregiver bond. 

Have the Child Turn the Page-Being an active participant teaches them about the reading process. 

By using engaged reading with your children, you are building more than just literacy skills. You are building the child-caregiver bond, problem-solving skills, and a world of curiosity.