Today across Nebraska classrooms, many guests and celebrities came in to read to the children to celebrate Dr. Seuss Day. The problem is, most of them don’t “ace” reading aloud to children very well.

Most adults tend to stare at the page as they read instead of making eye contact with the child or children to make sure they are engaged and enjoying the storytime. Most adults don’t say anything other than the words that are on the pages, foregoing the very valuable practice of “what if?” questions and alternative endings that so often bring the storytelling process alive to the children. Most adults drone on when they read aloud, instead of using the dynamics, facial expressions, different voices, and other dramatic skills that make reading aloud so captivating for children, and bridge them over so much more effectively to independent reading.

Since most of the children who read very well actually learned to read on the laps of their parents, I wish those common-sense practices that good reading families use could be shared with families for whom reading is only an occasional pastime, instead of a huge passion.

I also wish preschools and primary-grade teachers would train parents HOW to read to children. Same for volunteers who come in periodically. It would be so much more valuable if they were mindful of what makes a great read-aloud, vs. what just passes the time.

Here are some great tips for reading time, both for classrooms and the home:

10 Steps to Teaching Your Child to Read