Read Aloud Tips

When people hear I’m a reading specialist, they often ask, “How should I ‘do’ my read aloud? Which books should I choose? The answer is simple: read many books and read often. However, there are a few read aloud tips that will make your read aloud time more meaningful.   It also helps to share a book that is developmentally appropriate. Here are some things to consider when making book choices and some resources I enjoy.

 Read Aloud Tips by Age

Read Aloud Tips for Babies:

  • Read Anything to your baby. A baby is calmed by the sound of your voice. I like to read when I nurse. Often I’ll read aloud to my baby. With Logan I read the Book of Psalms from The Bible. The verse, “He will uphold you with his righteous right hand” got me through some long nights!!
  • Nursery rhymes are a great idea for babies. They like repetition so if you only have one nursery rhyme book, read it over and over and over and over.
  • A baby’s vision is still developing. Transferring a 3D object onto a 2D page can make it difficult for a baby to distinguish what he is seeing. Try to choose books that have one large, very clear picture per page.
  • When your baby starts teething, grabbing, etc. cloth books, bath time books, and chunky books are a good choice. I REALLY like this cloth book from my sister. It has a little wrist strap so Tyson can’t throw it down!

Read Aloud Tips for Babies

Resources for Read Alouds:

One of the best resources for choosing books for babies is a book called Baby Read Aloud Basics. This book has been a lifesaver to me. There is also a website available

There are also free booklists online. Sometimes it’s hard to find book reviews that aren’t “sponsored” by publishers. I think some of the best lists online are published by the International Reading Association. They have booklists chosen by teachers and children.

Read Aloud Tips for Preschoolers:

Read Aloud Tips for Preschoolers

  • Allow your child as much choice as possible when choosing books.
  • Be prepared to read the same book over and over and over. The repetition is good for your child’s brain!
  • Start at any page, finish at any page. If you can get your kid to sit still for even part of a book, feel proud of yourself!
  • Generate conversation as you read. You don’t have to read the words on the page. Talking about the story is important too!
  • Talking about book concepts is really important. Allow your child to handle the book. Tell him what he is doing, “Logan is opening the book, turning the pages, Where is the front of the book?” etc.
  • Books about daily activities are a big hit at this age. Logan is very interested in a book about going on the potty. He’s not so interested in going on the potty as he is the book!
  • Lift the flap books are a good way to get a reluctant reader involved!

Resources for Read Alouds:

The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trealease is a good place to start when choosing books for preschool children. And look at all this FREE information from Jim Trelease! Lots of brochures on what to read, what not to read, book reviews, etc! Check it out!
The FREE online booklists from the IRA (listed above) have ideas for toddlers.

This book list by NEA is good, too. However, it is just a list of books- no reviews!

Read Aloud Tips for Early Readers:

  • Again- allow your child to make choices about what to read, be prepared for repetition. Choose books based on topics or themes that interest your child.
  • Allow your child to read to you when he can- But don’t make it a quiz! Coax him to read something you know he CAN read!
  • Generate conversations about the book: Again- not a quiz but a way to activate what your child knows about the book or how the book connects to real life.

Resources for Read Alouds:

If you are looking for read alouds for early readers, I would recommend using The Read Aloud Handbook for these kiddos too… it goes all the way through middle school so it is a good resource to invest in.

How to Get your Child to Love Reading: For Ravenous and Reluctant Readers Alike is a good choice too. I don’t currently have a copy of this book but I have flipped through it a few times and I know of other parents/teachers who LOVE this book. (It’s probably one of my next purchases). Instead of “leveling” books, Codell sorts books into themes. The book also offers book based activities. You can get more info at

My favorite book for this age group is Read to Me: Raising Kids Who Love to Read. For each age group, this book includes ideas for reading AND writing with your child, tips for busy parents (that’s all of us, right?), and Surefire hits (book lists for each age). This book is very well organized and easy to use and it goes right up to age 11-12! A smart investment.

Oh, yeah… and in the interest of Full Disclosure. Nobody is payin’ me nothin’. Seriously. I make no money. I send my hubs off every day to do that. So these are just my thoughts and my reviews.


  1. Emily says

    Ooh! Let me know what you think about The Monster at the End of This Book. I know it’s probably not the most educational for them, but it is fun! :)