As 2020 goes on, we all must continue to find ways to spend time with those we care about virtually. One idea to try is sharing a read-aloud over video. I wanted to share some tips for doing virtual read-alouds with the kids in your life.
Pick the right book and show it off
First, when choosing a book, it’s always a good idea to pick one with a topic you know the child is interested in. But make sure you like the book too! Your excitement will be infectious. Additionally, if you’re looking for a picture book, try to find one with shorter sentences since that will make it easier for you to read the book and then turn the pictures to the camera. If you’re reading the book on a video call, using a tripod allows you to hold the book in both hands. This works extremely well when reading a picture book. If you don’t have a tripod for your device, try propping it up on a table or desk. You can also write parts of the book down on a piece of paper. That way you can read off your paper while holding the book to the camera, letting the child see the illustrations longer.
But remember, you don’t need to just focus on the words on the page. Take breaks from reading to ask questions like “What do you think is going to happen next? Why do you think they did that? How would that make you feel?” This is a great way to discuss the story as you go. And if the book has illustrations, use them to introduce new vocabulary for young kids, as well as engage readers of all ages in what’s happening in the story.
Have fun and be flexible
Lastly, reading should be fun! If the child you’re reading to isn’t interested in hearing the story anymore, feel free to skip ahead, jump to the end, or stop the book altogether. You can try another book or move on to doing something else. Fifteen minutes of enjoyed reading is better than thirty minutes of forced reading. Reading together should be a positive experience, and this encourages kids to become life-long readers.
If you need any suggestions, our famous Mystery Reader Binder is now available online! It offers book lists geared to pre-k through 3rd graders. Take a look and find some of our favorite books in Youth Services. Happy reading!