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Reading aloud to your child, and why it's important

Improve Literacy Newsletter

30 July 2008 - Issue 7

Hi all,

We've got a packed newsletter for you this month, so let's get straight into it!

1. Reading aloud to your child - and why it's important
2. 20 great readaloud book titles for you and your child 
3. A few good websites and resources for reading aloud 
4. Improve Literacy website news

1. Reading aloud to your child - and why it's important

Before children are able to read and write they are completely reliant on their parents or teachers to impart information to them. In the vast majority of cases, the children that perform best in school, particularly in reading and writing-related disciplines, are the ones who have been read to by their parents from a very early age. The importance of reading to your child cannot be overstated. Here are a few top tips on reading aloud to your child:

* Don't stop reading aloud to your child just because she might now be at school. Reading aloud isn't just an activity to be shared until children can read on their own.

* Your child will encounter peaks and troughs as he moves out of the home environment and into school. Setting a flexible reading schedule can help to iron those out.

* Reading aloud to your child can provoke more complex conversations. Your child will without doubt stop and ask you questions about what you are reading, and it's a good idea to ask prompting questions as you go.

* Reading storybooks aloud to a child can be a good way to heal emotional problems they might encounter. Storybooks can provide a security blanket for children during times of change in their lives. It's also important to allow your child to identify with characters in children's stories.

* Don't give up when your child occasionally - or even frequently - squirms when it's reading time. It's to be expected, and you're certainly not alone. The key is to be understanding, but don't give up the routine.

* Keep it FUN! - Take turns reading out loud to each other. Reading alternate sentences with each other keeps your child's attention and can be great fun.

* Remember - reading pleasure is far more important and effective than reading pressure. Try your best to make reading together a time you can both enjoy, as children learn best when they are stimulated and having fun.

* Set a good reading example with what you yourself are reading. Keep readaloud titles visible throughout your house

2. 20 great readaloud book titles for you and your child

These titles are very popular, and ideal for children aged between 4 and 8.

- The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
- Pancakes for Breakfast, by Tommy dePaola
- Are You My Mother, by P.D. Eastman
- Time for Bed, by Mem Fox
- My First Taggies Book, by Kaori Wantanabe
- We Have a Baby, Cathryn Falwell
- Where's Spot? by Eric Hill
- A Child's Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson
- A Hatful of Seuss, by Dr. Seuss
- Frog and Toad are Friends, by Arnold Lobel
- George and Martha, by James Marshall
- Mama Elizabeti, by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen, Illustrated by Christy Hale
- Mailing May, by Michael O. Tunnell, Illustrated by Ted Rand
- Hide and Seek Fog, by Alvin R. Tresselt
- Corduroy, by Don Freeman
- Are You a Butterfly? by Judy Allen
- This Jazz Man, by Karen Ehrhardt
- What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
- A Busy Year, by Leo Lionni
- Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka

3. A few good websites and resources for reading aloud Read Alouds -
A catalogue of useful links to other related web pages and similar websites, as well as lists of "how-tos" and step by step advice. A huge and valuable repository of information.

Mem Fox: Ten Read-Aloud Commandments -
The well-known Australian children's book author and teacher's website gives authoritative advice about helping children to read with picture books. Her ten commandments of reading aloud hit the mark perfectly.

United Through Reading -
Techniques, suggestions, challenges and solutions for parents and educators who want to help their children or pupils toimprove their literacy through reading aloud. Also contains reading tips and resources.

Storyline Online -
Brought to you by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, this website streams videos of Hollywood actors reading a collection of children's stories. Each story contains accompanying activities and lesson ideas.

Reading Rockets - 
This PBS channel-based website gives excellent information, and this specific section of the site gives valuable advice about how to give a child various opportunities to read aloud.

4. Improve Literacy website news

The personalised children's storybook that we sell on the Improve Literacy website is now available on the Australian experiences website RedBalloon Days ( You can buy it as a gift for a young child!

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