I started to read-aloud to my grandchildren online and in person for a few years ago. Since then I have learned a few things that make the read-aloud experience a positive one for my grandchildren and me. Here are my top 10 tips for read-aloud grandparents!
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My top 10 tips for read-aloud grandparents
- Choose books you enjoy reading aloud. Make sure they are easy to hold and not too big or too heavy. If you find a book you enjoy see if the author has more books. Chances are they do! Take a look at this list I put together of 15 of my favorites to get you started.
- Have a variety of read-aloud books for your grandchildren to choose from. If I am reading to two or more children at the same time I let them take turns choosing books. I hold up two books and let them choose the book we will read aloud next. There are times I return books to the library they weren’t interested in reading.
- Ask your grandchildren what kind of books they want you to look for at the library. Mine have requested: pandas, princesses, dinosaurs, unicorns etc. I do a search on the library’s website and find titles to put on hold. I share lots of our favorites with you on Read-Aloud Grandma.
- Keep your read-aloud session to about 30 minutes. It may need to be shorter for younger children. There are times we go over a little bit if we are almost through with a chapter book or we chat a bit, but generally 30 minutes is about right.
- Environment: Make sure you have good lighting, a good internet connection and a quiet place without a lot of distractions. Hopefully your grandchildren will have a good setting for listening. Listening activities are helpful as well. You can’t always control their situation, but you can control yours.
- Read books that have bold, clear illustrations. Hold the book so they can see the illustrations easily. Sometimes you need to move the book closer to your screen or farther away so they can see the pictures the best.
- Engage the children by reading with expression. I don’t do different voices for different characters. That’s not my personality, but it might be fun for you. Reading louder, softer, faster or slower to match the mood of the story as well as having excitement in your voice helps draw the children in.
- If possible, schedule your reading session ahead of time. We don’t plan too far in advance, but it helps to have a time to read on my calendar and theirs.
- When you finish a book, ask a question inspired by the story. This will help you have a fun conversation and discussion. You can read more about an experience I had asking my grandchildren a question after a story here. I include conversation questions with my 15 Great Read-Aloud Picture Books list.
- Keep a record of the read-aloud books you like. I like to take a picture of a book after we finish reading it if we enjoyed it. I have a folder in my camera roll where I keep the photos so I can refer back to them. Some books are too good to only read once so it helps to have a list of favorites you can refer to.
Do you need more great books or fun read aloud ideas?
I have lots of books and great ideas to share with you here!
To help you get started I have a list of 15 great read-aloud picture books you can download for free.