Do’s and Don’ts of Reading Aloud

Recently, I recommended The Read-Aloud Handbook as a great resource for parents and teachers. It not only gives extensive evidence for the practice of reading aloud to children int he home and classroom but also provides some great tips for doing so. Below is an excerpt of a few of the do’s and don’ts of read-aloud that might interest you (taken from Chapter 4 of The Read-Aloud Handbook  (5th edition): 


Here is a sample of some of the Do’s:

  • Occasionally read above children’s intellectual levels and challenge their minds.
  • Allow your listeners a few minutes to settle down and adjust their feet and minds to the story. If it’s a novel, begin by asking what happened when you left off yesterday.
  • Mood is an important factor in listening. An authoritarian “Now stop that and settle down! Sit up straight. Pay attention” doesn’t create a receptive atmosphere.
  • Allow time for class and home discussion after reading a story. Thoughts, hopes, fears and discoveries are aroused by a book.



Teacher reading aloud to class Flickr CC
photo source: Old Shoe Woman (Flickr – Creative Commons)


Here is a sample of some of the Don’t’s:

  • Don’t read above a child’s emotional level. Don’t overwhelm your listener – consider the intellectual, social and emotional level of your audience when making a read-aloud selection.
  • If you are a teacher, don’t feel you have to tie every book to class work. Don’t confine the broad spectrum of literature to the narrow limits of the curriculum.
  • In choosing novels for reading aloud, avoid books that are heavy with dialogue; they are difficult reading aloud and listening.
  • Don’t use the book as a threat. As soon as your child or class sees that you’ve turned the book into a  weapon, they’ll change their attitude about books from positive to negative.


I am sure these tips will help improve your read-aloud times with your children and/or class making it an enjoyable and beneficial time for everyone.

2 thoughts on “Do’s and Don’ts of Reading Aloud

  1. Asalaamu Alaikum

    Reading above their level is very important. Its always good to stretch your mind. Its important to build up new vocabulary words to help in reading other books and to use in daily conversation and in school work.

  2. I work with one year olds, sometimes I read a tad bit above their level (so long as pictures are engaging) other times, I read books at their level. It often depends on their mood at circle time 😀

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