Thank you for being a guest reader and supporting literacy in your community! Here are our top tips on reading aloud to groups:
1) Bring great books, well matched to your audience.
- Think about the age range of your group. Preschoolers enjoy picture books about familiar experiences, with predictable plot lines and rhyming text. School aged children appreciate more complex plots, characters, and humour. Poetry or short stories are also crowd-pleasers. For grades 4 and above consider reading one chapter or segment from a novel, or reading from a non-fiction book about sports, science, or famous people.
- Pick stories you are excited to share. Consider books you loved when you were growing up. Whatever titles you choose, make sure to read them aloud ahead of time so you are familiar with the stories and are comfortable performing them for your audience.
- For suggested titles, explore the booklists section on the READ IN website and talk to other people who spend time with children. Ask teachers, librarians, parents, and other caregivers for ideas. You might also search the Internet, visit a library, or browse through a bookstore. Bring more than one book so you have a few options at hand.
2) Practice your performing voice.
- Is your voice expressive? Is it loud enough for everyone to hear? Are you reading at a moderate pace so your audience can enjoy the story? Are you saying the words slowly and clearly? Are you pausing and, if applicable,showing the pictures in a way that ensures each person can see them? You don’t have to act everything out with character specific voices, but your reading is enhanced when your tone reflects what is happening in the story.
- It might help to watch others reading aloud so you know what to expect. Start with the links listed in the “More Tips and Videos” section at the bottom of this page.
- Practice until you feel comfortable. Practice your reading at home or perform for a friend and make changes as needed.
3) Go with the flow.
- Introduce yourself then introduce the book by noting the author and/or illustrator, explaining why you chose this book, or commenting on what might happen in the story. As you are about to begin your reading, you might invite the children to ask questions and comment on the story once you have finished reading it.
- Your audience might not react as you expect. Your group may appear restless or squirmy yet still be paying attention. Your visit is an opportunity for them to develop their skills as members of an audience and each person will be at a different stage in that development.
- Be patient with the group and with yourself. Your enthusiasm and your willingness to share matters more than anything else. Enjoy the experience and know that you are growing your community’s future readers. Remember, reading lasts a lifetime!