19 Tips for Reading Aloud to Your Kids

19 read aloud tips on Tricia Goyer's blog

One of my favorite times of the day is when I get the kids settled in a night and it’s time to read. Currently we’re reading Little House on the Prairie. And recently we just finished Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avelona. (Pst. You can buy the WHOLE Anne of Green Gables Series on Amazon for only .99!)

Bedtime reading has been a tradition that we’ve done for the last 20+ years. We make sure all electronics are turned off, the kids get ready for bed, and we sit down as a family to read. Currently–since we have an age range of 5-16-years-old–I read to the younger kids and John reads to the older ones. It’s amazing how many wonderful books we get to share as a family!

Do you like to read aloud? Here are some ideas and tips from friends to help your experience!


My kids are still preschoolers, so sometimes we do read alouds while they play with blocks or other things. It’s worked out really well for us, because it means I don’t have to read only what will hold their interest in every moment, but they still love it and ask to read more. We made it all the way through the Little House on the Prairie series that way. It started while I was still nursing my younger child and the habit just stuck. —Alicia Wright

We read aloud all the way through high school. I was very dynamic and animated, always using appropriate voices. When they were old enough (strong readers), the kids joined in the reading. We saved fiction books for read aloud. We also supplemented with audio books (read by the author are the best!). When the kiddos were really young I would allow coloring in a Dover color book that matched our story. Some kept this up as they got older, some began notes. We always ended with comprehension questions and discussion. Lastly, we listen to a lot of audio books: in the car, while doing chores, in the shower, etc. I’ve noticed that the kiddos quiet down even if it’s my audio book. —Kim Garroutte

I, or the kids, fall asleep when I read out loud. If they fall asleep, it’s always in a good spot and I want to read ahead. Books on tape seemed to work best for us! While in the car, while sorting out a play room, while resting, or practicing patient sitting. —Angie Wright

Bath time was big read aloud time for us, especially as they got older. Just so relaxing at the end of the day. But that was one kid at a time. —Carla Foote

We read a lot. Mine are now 16 and 18. But we still listen to books in the car. We listened to audio books when they were little too. Also, I read to them a lot. You cannot read too much. One of our favorite memories was abandoning school one day and reading all of our Christmas books. When the kids were little, one couldn’t sit. So I would read picture books. My son would sit in my lap. My daughter would play and come over and look at pics. She was hearing it but needed to move and be active. I read at their level and above their level. I even took books to the hospital to read when they were born. Yep. We’re all bookaholics. Mem Fox has a great book on how to read to children. Love her! —Leanna Ellis

I used different voices for each character. I read with enthusiasm and made eye contact as much as possible. Then we talked about what we read. Get them engaged. —Mary Ann Hake

My grandson likes to sit on my lap when I read to him. Sometimes it is paper books and sometimes digital. When my own kids were little I would sit with them and read, or if they were sick or tired, they would lie in bed and I would read. I read through the Lion, Witch and Wardrobe when my daughter had surgery. We tried audio books in the car once but that doesn’t work for me. I can’t concentrate. I do yawn a lot when reading aloud, too, but I try to keep invested in the story and let the child participate as much as possible. They generally know the story pretty well with only a few readings and can provide answers. In Goodnight Moon, we’d look for the mouse on each page and things like that. Depends on the age of your child of course. —Sandie Stevens Petit

I act out the part with voice changes. Loved reading Dr. Seuss when they were small. I read them so often they would quote some of the books with me by heart! I homeschooled and one granddaughter was reading by age four. They love books! —Amy Speer

I would point to each word as I read. I’d also read through the book first and then go back through and have the child repeat each word after I said it. —Tina Marie Watson

My grandkids are in Florida, and I’m in Missouri. We Skype several days a week and I read them stories over Skype. They have even gotten prizes from our local library for all the books that we read together from the summer reading program. —Susan Shipley Stitch

First of all, make sure the books are good read alouds. Funny characters, lots of action, etc.  Make each voice very distinct and animated. Use inflection and vary the pace. —Brenda Roskos

When I read aloud, I make sure to enunciate clearly, especially when they are little. I use character voices, and sometimes I even pause for dramatic effect to make the story more “real” to my child. When they are able, I let them have a turn. Mistakes happen and we repeat without condemnation when necessary. —Lori Glitter Klein

I love cuddle reads with everyone packed on one chair or bed. I am a bit sad but also glad when one of the older grands take over the reading. —Elizabeth Melvin

When they were little and I was sick of reading the same books over and over I kept two boxes, one for books we had recently read and one for books we hadn’t recently read. We didn’t go back and repeat books until we had gone through all of them. —Alana Terry

I read aloud to my husband! Not all the time but we enjoyed several reads that way. I am just as animated and dramatic as I was when I read to my now three adult kids and two grands! I love to read aloud! —Susan Chamberlain Shipe

I read in a heavy English accent, the kids always rolled laughing. —Angela Mininger

I read aloud outside my kids’ rooms at night … long after they were able to read for themselves. We got through all but one of the Narnia books that way, as well as some others. —Stephanie Nickel

When the kids were young, I started reading every evening. We read chapter books. We didn’t have electronics or even a TV. So the kids would embroider or crochet and I would read. Younger kids might be playing with Legos, but everyone was quiet and listened. These were not kids books really, although some were. We read every Rod and Staff book, Little House books, lots of historical fiction, The Hiding Place, Jeannette Oke novels, A Christmas Carol, etc. I think it helped not having a TV. We went through a ton of books!! Now you know what started Martha on this path of loving to read! —Joyce Vogel

Read with enthusiasm, pull them into the story! —Victoria Durall

What tips do YOU have for reading aloud to your kids or grandkids?

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