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Recomended Practice
Outcomes (Why use this practice?)
What You Can Do
Set aside at least one consistent time each day for a story. This time should be ideal for both you and the child.
  • Sticking to a schedule helps the child know what is expected and allows them to view reading as an enjoyable part of each day.
  • Having a consistent time each day to read together can demonstrate the importance of quality time with one another.

Ask yourself,

  • When is there a time that I will not be distracted as a reader?
  • If the child attends daycare/preschool,
    what times during the day do they have Storytime?
  • What distractions can I be aware of (e.g., is my child hungry, is their favorite
    cartoon on, are they too tired, etc.)?
Read the book to yourself first.
  • Allows you to familiarize yourself with the book's length, content, and appropriateness.
  • Allows you to practice and become a better reader.
  • Allows you to identify throughout the book:
    • Where you need to slow down or speed up,
    • Where you can use more expressions,
    • Where you can change the tone of your voice to fit the dialogue of the story,
    • Where you can ask questions or prompt the child.

Ask yourself,

  • Do I like the book?
  • Does this book contain the main concepts I want my child to grasp?
  • Is this book appropriate for the intellectual, social, and emotional level of my child?

If the book is appropriate but long, ask yourself,

  • Are there sections in the book I could stop and pick up later?
  • Are there sections of the book I could shorten or eliminate without losing the main concepts of the story?
Make sure you and your child are comfortable and the reading environment is ideal.
  • Allows you to have an enjoyable reading time for you and your child.

Ask yourself,

  • Does my child want to sit on my lap or on the floor in front of me?
  • As I read, can my child see the illustrations from where they are sitting?
  • Am I in a comfortable place?
Do a “Book Walk” together. Look at the illustrations and talk about the book.
  • Supports the child’s curiosity and interest in the story.
  • Allows you to bring the author and illustrator to life

Ask the child,

  • “What do you think this book is going to be about?”

As you read the story, keep the child involved!

  • Allows the child to build mental pictures of what they just heard.
  • Allows the child to express their thoughts and ask questions.
  • Allows you to point out important parts of the story.
  • Supports a child’s reading and language skills.

Ask the child questions before and while you read:

  • “What just happened?”
  • “What do you think is going to happen next?”
  • “What do you think is going to happen if...”

Ask yourself,

  • Are they able to answer my questions? If not, can I simplify my questions? If so, can I ask deeper questions?

Allow them to turn the pages and, if repeat/familiar phrases occur in the book, allow them to recite them.

Always answer the questions that the child asks (during or after the story).


  • Supports deeper learning and allows the child to better understand the main concepts of the book.

Ask yourself,

  • Am I able to answer their questions? If not, can we look it up together or can I look it up and follow up with the child later?


  • If the question is not for the purpose of distraction, answering it will foster their curiosity.
  • Answer with patience.
  • "Reading" together is not always about reading the story word-for-word.

Provide the child with opportunities to experience the book in a variety of ways.

It is normal for children to have a tough time sitting still! Allowing the child to stay engaged in the story in a variety of ways can help them keep their hands or bodies busy while listening.

Ask yourself, is there some way I can help my child be active as part of this reading time? For example:

  • Could I provide paper and crayons, or another quiet activity, for them to keep their hands busy?
  • Could I find opportunities for us to stand up or move in some way that aligns with what is happening in the story?
  • Can I keep my child interested in other ways, such as:
    • Allowing them to turn the page
    • Asking them to point to an image or letter
    • Asking a question or making a comment

Read books multiple times.

  • Children typically enjoy reading stories multiple times – being exposed to something multiple times helps them learn.
  • Repeated reading supports children’s understanding of stories and helps build their reading and language skills.

After the 10th (or 100th?) time reading the same story, remember,

  • This is a good thing and a normal part of my child’s development.

Ask yourself,

  • What does my child understand about this story that they did not understand the 10th (or 100th) time we read it together?

Set aside time to ask questions after the story. This can be immediately following the story or at a different time (e.g., dinner table, in the car, bath time, etc.)

Supports a child’s comprehension and understanding of the book.

Ask the child,

  • “What was your favorite part of the story?”
  • “What is this story about?”
  • “What happened in this story?”
  • “What other questions do you have about the story now that we are at the end?

Bring a third dimension to the story, such as doing an activity during or after the story.

  • Children learn best when there is an opportunity to continue a conversation or activity during or after being read to.

Some examples to think about include:

  • If the characters are planting flowers, a good follow-up activity would be to plant a flower together while recalling the events of the story.
  • If the characters are eating pancakes, make pancakes to eat during or after the story.


For questions, please contact Jennifer Munter at [email protected]