Reading Aloud:  “Kick It Up a Notch”

By Dawn Little

Founder, Links to Literacy

 Do you read aloud to your children every day, but wonder what you can do to “kick it up a notch?”  Reading aloud is a wonderful opportunity to share a few quality minutes with our children snuggling and enjoying a book.  But, did you know you can easily transform a read aloud into an instructional moment with very little prep and without your child even knowing that he may be learning something, too?  All it takes is a few questions before, during, and after reading. 

Before Reading

  • What do you already know about (topic of book)? (activating background knowledge)
  • Look at the picture on the cover and the title of the book.  What do you think is going to happen? (making predictions) 

During Reading

  • As you read, confirm your child’s prediction.  Was it correct? If not, discuss what happened instead.
  • Ask your child questions to clear up points of confusion as you read.

 After Reading

  • What does this book remind you of?  (making connections to the text)
  • Ask your child to retell you the story.  What happened at the beginning?  The middle?  The end?   (summarize the text) 

These questions touch on common comprehension strategies that good readers use to understand text.  If we emphasize and model how to use some of these strategies at home, we begin to create a solid reading foundation for our children.  A few questions and you’ve “kicked it up a notch!”    

 If you would like more information on teaching common comprehension strategies to your child, I suggest reading 7 Keys to Comprehension: How to Help Your Kids Read It and Get It! by Susan Zimmerman and Chryse Hutchins. 

 Dawn Little (@linkstoliteracy on Twitter) blogs at where she provides educators with picture book lessons based on comprehension strategies and the Six Traits of Writing.  In addition, she blogs at where she provides educators and parents with tips and tools to enhance the literacy lives of children.  She is the founder and owner of Links to Literacy, a company dedicated to providing interactive literacy experiences for children and families.  Find out more at