7 Tips for Reading Aloud to Kids

Reading aloud to children is an essential part of building crucial literacy skills from preschool all the way to middle school.

Whether you are a teacher or a parent, reading aloud is a fun and effective way to connect with kids.

However, it’s not always easy! For example, how in the world are you supposed to read a wordless picture book out loud?

7 Tips for Reading Aloud to Kids
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A Handbook for Reading Aloud

If you’re looking for an in-depth guide to reading aloud to children, look no further than The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. Last year, I hosted a summer book study for this bestseller.

But if you’re short on time – who isn’t! – I’ve compiled the best tips I learned from that resource and from my years in the classroom.

7 Helpful Tips for Reading Aloud to Children

Research has proven that reading aloud daily is one of the most effective ways parents and teachers can help children become successful readers.

If you read aloud using these tips, you will not only build literacy skills, but you will have fun too!

1. Let the Child Pick the Book

One excellent way to get young children involved in the reading aloud process is to allow them to select the book you read.

However, it’s hard for a child to select a book when all they see is the spine on a bookshelf!

Several years ago, I installed rain gutters on my classroom walls to display books facing out where the kids could see them.

Rain Gutter Bookshelves from The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

Young children are attracted to the covers of books, so facing them out is going to get them to notice those particular books more.

In the classroom, you can provide a tub or basket of books for your students to select that are “teacher approved.” Invite students to choose which one you will read aloud that particular day.

2. Don’t Be Afraid of Wordless Picture Books!

When reading a wordless picture book, ask the children questions such as:

  • What do you think is happening here? (comprehension)
  • What makes you think that? (inferring)
  • What do you think will happen next? (predicting)
  • Why? (vocabulary and oral language)

3. Start Small

The younger the child the shorter the attention span. When you first start reading aloud to your class or your child, their attention span may be short. One of the benefits of reading aloud is that over time, their attention spans will get longer.

In the beginning, choose shorter books or books that are not too text-heavy. Then, as you notice their attention spans getting longer, you can start reading longer books.

4. Be Creative With Your Voice

Here are a few suggestions:

  • If different characters are speaking in the book, try doing a high voice for one and a low voice for another character. Or if you can speak in an accent like a Southern or British accent for a certain character, kids will eat that up!
  • When the story has a sound effect, make the most of it! A loud “BOOM” or an animal sound will do wonders to keep the children engaged.
  • Vary your tone. For sad parts, talk in a lower tone. For happy parts, talk in an excited voice!
    • 5. Read It Again

      As adults we may not always enjoy reading the same book day after day, but Jim Trelease says that reading the same book multiple times can really help children develop language skills and improve reading comprehension.

      If you are really tired of reading the same book, try reading it in a different voice. Or as you are reading, try stopping at a key word and see if the children can fill it in for you!

      6. Read Aloud to Big Kids, Too

      It might surprise you to know that reading aloud isn’t just for young children who can’t read on their own yet. In The Read-Aloud Handbook, Jim Trelease says “…kids usually listen on a higher level than they read.”

      I know many parents who read the Harry Potter series aloud with their older children. As teachers, it’s important to not give up reading aloud in the upper grades. One of my fondest memories of elementary school was my fourth grade teacher reading aloud to us daily.

      7. Explain Some New Words

      Should you stop and explain every unfamiliar word in the book? If you did that, it would take forever to get through one book!

      Instead, I recommend inserting explanations of a few of the words your children may not have heard before – no more than half. Each time you re-read the book, you can explain different new words to build vocabulary.

      In an interview with Jim Trelease on building vocabulary, he said “Few of us can say, read, or write a word we’ve never heard. Listening comprehension comes before everything else and then feeds the speaking, reading, and writing vocabularies.”

      More Tips for Reading Aloud to Kids

      Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool and I will be presenting Wow Your Crowd with a Read Aloud: 10 Strategies to Increase Engagement and Interaction at the NAEYC annual conference on November 7, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. We hope to meet some of you in person there!

      And of course, I can’t recommend The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease highly enough!

      Photo Credit in Slider: Tyler Olson via Shutterstock

Classroom Halloween Party Snacks

Looking for some fun, non-candy Halloween snacks for your classroom party?

There’s nothing worse than an entire classroom full of preschool or kindergarten kids on a sugar high after a classroom party.

Parents and teachers alike will appreciate these healthy Halloween snacks that will (hopefully) help keep your party from getting out of control.

Healthy Halloween Party Snacks

Healthy Halloween Party Snacks


Your kids will have a blast eating or making these creative, healthy Halloween snacks, and their parents will thank you too!

Healthy Halloween Classroom Party Treat Ideas
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10 Halloween Snacks for Your Classroom Party

1. Fruit and veggie cups with dipping sauce are always a hit with little kids. I even created printable treat toppers for you that say “Fruit Doesn’t Scare Me!” or “Veggies Don’t Scare Me!” Get your copy HERE.

2. Ghost Bananas and Tangerine Pumpkins: These are quite possibly the cutest snacks ever! Invite kids to add 3 chocolate chips to half a banana to make ghosts. The pumpkins are peeled tangerines with a piece of celery added as a stalk. Eating fruit has never been so much fun!

3. Kids will love eating the fruit from these Pumpkin Fruit Skewers!

4. Mummy Juice Boxes are super easy to make and even more fun to drink!

5. Spiders on a Log: A fun Halloween twist on the traditional ants on a log snack; celery, peanut butter, and raisins. Invite children to spread peanut butter on celery stalks and add raisins to represent spiders. Even your littlest party goers can make this one. You can use cream cheese as an alternative if you have children with peanut allergies.

6. These Gluten Free Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats from Mess for Less look delicious!

7. Spider Web Pizzas: Here’s one that older children can make on their own. Invite kids to spread pizza sauce on a tortilla or English muffin, and then tear strips of sliced cheese to create a web. Toast the webs in your toaster oven and add olives to represent spiders.

8. Crafty Morning shares how to make these yummy and adorable Jack-O-Lantern Quesadillas!

9. Who could resist these not-so-spooky Mini Jack-O-Lantern Cheese Wheels from Mama Papa Bubba?

10. String Cheese Witches Brooms are sure to wow the crowd! Simply add a chunk of string cheese to the bottom of a straight pretzel and tie with a string of chive. Slice the bottom of the cheese up to create the whisps of the room. This would be the perfect snack to go along with the book Room on the Broom!

Bonus Halloween Snack Idea

These Jack-O-Lantern Mandarin Orange Fruit Cups from Crystal and Comp are too cute not to include! All you need is a permanent marker and you’re good to go, your little goblins will gobble these up!

More Halloween Resources:
Best Halloween Books for Kids
Fun with Pumpkins and Markers
Halloween Visual Discrimination Printable
Halloween Classroom Party Treats
Healthy Halloween Party Treats Printable
Pumpkin Patch Dramatic Play
Halloween I-Spy Bottle Activity Printable
10 Non-Candy Halloween Treat Alternatives
Teacher Halloween Costumes
Spider Activities for Kids
Printable “You’ve Been Boo’d” Sign

Halloween Ideas for Preschool and kindergarten
Follow my Halloween board on Pinterest for more great ideas!

Halloween One-to-One Correspondence Activities

These Halloween counting activities will make learning how to count fun for young children.

Here are some super simple activities to incorporate one to one correspondence skills into your daily math routine.

One to One Correspondence Halloween Counting Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten

One to One Correspondence Activities

One-to-one correspondence is the act of counting each object once and only once.

Many young children in preschool and kindergarten have difficulty learning how to count objects individually.

Providing young children in preschool and kindergarten with lots of practice to develop their one-to-one correspondence skills will ensure they do not struggle with more complex math skills later.

One-to-One Correspondence Counting Spider Rings

Counting Spider Rings


What could be more fun than playing with spider rings and spider webs?

For the counting spider rings activity you will need the following supplies:

  • Paper plates
  • String
  • Spider rings (dollar store)
  • Scissors
  • One foam die

Start by cutting notches around the outside of small paper plates. You will need one paper plate, or spider web, for each child in your small group.

Next, wrap the string around the plates using the notches to hold the string in place. If your students are too young to complete this step independently you could prepare the webs for them, but if they are old enough this will be great fun!

Each child in your small group should have their own web. Now, place a container of spider rings in the middle of the table.

To play, the children will take turns rolling the die and placing the corresponding number of spiders in their webs.

One to One Correspondence Counting Pumpkins Math for Preschool and Kindergarten

Counting Pumpkins


Your kids will love using the grabber to count and place the pumpkins in the pumpkin patch! Using the grabber has other educational benefits such as the development of fine motor skills.

Here are the supplies you will need for the counting pumpkins activity:

  • Orange pom-poms
  • Grabber (dollar store)
  • Paper
  • Green marker
  • One foam die

Start by drawing some vines with your green marker on the paper. Then, place a bowl of pom-poms on the left side of the table and the paper with the vines on the right side of the table.

Invite students in your small group to take turns rolling the die and using the grabber to place the corresponding number of pom-poms in the pumpkin patch.

Be sure to have the students stand in front of the table with the pom-poms on their left to reinforce left to right progression.

When students transfer the pom-poms from the bowl to the paper they are also crossing the midline.

For older students, or students who are ready, you can use a ten frame to represent the pumpkin patch to support fluency within ten.

One to One Correspondence Pumpkin Seed Counting Activity

Counting Pumpkin Seeds


Use real pumpkin seeds for this fun, hands-on counting game!

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Mini pumpkin containers (dollar store)
  • One foam die

Start by giving each child in your small group a small pumpkin container. Next, place a cup of pumpkin seeds in the middle of the table.

Children will take turns rolling the die and counting out the corresponding number of pumpkin seeds into their little pumpkin.

More Halloween Resources:
Fun with Pumpkins and Markers
Skeleton Syllable Activity
Halloween Visual Discrimination Printable
Halloween Classroom Party Treats
Healthy Halloween Party Treats Printable
Pumpkin Patch Dramatic Play
Halloween I-Spy Bottle Activity Printable
10 Non-Candy Halloween Treat Alternatives
Teacher Halloween Costumes
Spider Activities for Kids
Printable “You’ve Been Boo’d” Sign

Halloween Ideas for Preschool and kindergarten
Follow my Halloween board on Pinterest for more great ideas!

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