Preparing to Read to Preschoolers

From Birth to third grade, a child will be learning to read. From third grade and beyond, a child will read to learn

Most programs have scheduled story time’s everyday. To make these times run smoothly, be prepared. Reading to young children is not just pulling a book off the shelf and trudging through the pages. It takes practice and preparation. Know your book. How can you connect what the children already know something about with the story that you are about to read? Think of this as the gateway into the story. Once you have found a way to make a connection to the story, the children are usually more interested in what the story is about.

Keeping children involved in the story requires you to know the story ahead of time. It allows you to be able to stop and ask a fidgety child what they think might happen next, how do you think the character feels, or what would you do? Pull them back into the story positively instead of calling them out for being disruptive. If you have more than one disruptive child: ask yourself if the children can see the pictures clearly? Am I reading this book in an interesting way or am I stammering through the pages? Is this a story that the children can relate to? Is this story too long for my group of children? Most times when story time is failing, the teacher is at least partially responsible. Being prepared for your story will help enormously. And though you ideally want all children to participate in your rug time, it is not necessary for all children to be mandated to sit and listen. Some children are just not mature enough to sit through a large group story. If you have younger children, try dividing your story time into smaller groups where children can sit closer and have more involvement in the reading experience.

If you have the time and the finances, you can enhance your story times by making and/or purchasing props such as puppets and flannel boards. Find a bookshelf where you can keep the books you have read so the children can return to them often. There should be a minimum of 20 quality books available in the book area of your classroom everyday as well as books integrated into all your other centers. Books are the windows to the world.   Help the children develop an interest in books, as they will need this for the remainder of their school years.  Happy reading.