Reading Tips

Books build better brains.

Reach Out and Read encourages all parents to make reading with their children part of their daily routine.

General

  • Make reading part of every day, even for just a few minutes.
  • Have fun.
  • Talk about the pictures. You do not have to read the book to tell a story.
  • Let your child turn the pages.
  • Show your child the cover page. Explain what the story is about.
  • Run your finger along the words as you read them.
  • Silly sounds, especially animal sounds, are fun to make.
  • Choose books about events in your child's life such as starting preschool, going to the dentist, getting a new pet, or moving to a new home.
  • Make the story come alive. Create voices for the story characters.
  • Ask questions about the story. What do you think will happen next? What is this?
  • Let your child ask questions about the story. Talk about familiar activities and objects.
  • Let your child retell the story.
  • Visit your local library often.

Reading with Your Baby

  • Hold your baby on your lap while you read.
  • Babies like…
    • board books;
    • pictures of babies;
    • rhymes and songs from the same book over and over;
    • and when you point at pictures - this is how babies learn!

Reading with Your 1-Year-Old

  • Let your toddler move around while you are reading.
  • Name the pictures - this is how toddlers learn new words.
  • Read labels and signs wherever you go.
  • Toddlers like …
    • the same book over and over;
    • a book at bedtime;
    • to choose and hold the book;
    • books about food, trucks, animals, and children;
    • and books with a few words.

Reading with Your 2-Year-Old 

  • Read labels and signs wherever you go.
  • Keep different books around the house and let your child choose.
  • Two-year-olds like ...
    • to help turn the pages;
    • to fill in the words in a story they know;
    • to point and name pictures;
    • to hear the same book over and over;
    • books that are silly;
    • and animal books and animal noises.

Reading with Your Preschool Child 

  • Have your child sit close or on your lap while reading.
  • Ask questions about the story.
  • Let your child tell you stories.
  • Make weekly visits to the children's room at the library so your child can choose more books.
  • Children like ...
    • longer books that tell stories;
    • books without words;
    • alphabet and counting books;
    • books about families, friends, and going to school;
    • and a book at bedtime.

Here are some helpful videos for parents to guide them in reading aloud with their children:

Jean Ciborowski Fahey, PhD on Raising Readers
Video from Get Ready to Read!

Reading Together 3
Reading Together 6
Videos from the Fred Rogers Center Early Learning Environment

Three Core Concepts in Early Development: Serve & Return Interaction Shapes Brain Circuitry
Video from Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child

Dr. Patricia Kuhl and Dr. Andrew Meltzoff on Brain Power: Why Early Learning Matters
Video from the 2011 NBC News Education Nation Summit

Awards & Endorsements Recognition for Reach Out and Read's Impact Nationwide.
Endorsed By American Academy of Pediatrics
Award Winner 2013 David M. Rubenstein Prize
Endorsed by National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
Award Winner Charity Navigator Four Star Charity
Contact Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read National Center
56 Roland Street, Suite 100D
Boston, MA 02129-1243

Parent Resources

A Prescription to Read 20 Minutes Every Day.

Suggested Reading:


Title: Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks
From A to Z
Author: Richard Scarry
Reading To Your Six To Twelve Month Old

Small books are perfect for babies' hands.  It is a normal developmental behavior for babies to put items in their mouths. The thick cardboard pages of a board book are designed to withstand this action. Books are the perfect way to entertain a  baby in a carriage or crib.

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