There’s a difference between simply reading words off a page to your child, and engaging them in the story.
What is interactive reading?
Reading interactively is something that might come naturally to some parents. For others, it may take a little bit of practise. It’s all about going beyond the words of the page to engage with your child and the story.
Sometimes we need to remember that it’s okay to be flexible when we read! If you can see that your child is getting tired, you might choose to summarise the story rather than reading all the words on the page. On the other hand, if your child is restless and wriggly, you could try getting them involved by asking questions, pointing out details in the pictures, or asking them to help turn the pages.
Book reading can be fun for parents, too! Reading in funny voices and adding emphasis and expression are all great ways to loosen up and get creative with your child.
Here are some examples of what you might say to engage your child in a story:
“This little boy likes red. Do you like red?” “Oh, look at that! The puppy is escaping! Where will he go?”
“How many elephants can you count? What sound does the elephant make?” “Oooh, that ice cream looks yummy. What’s your favourite flavour?”
Why are these interactions during reading time so important?
Research has shown that there are countless benefits to interactive reading time with our children. Some of these include:
An increase in your child’s understanding of what is being read
Broadly improving their language skills, including expanding their vocabularies (the amount of words they understand and use)
Reading helps your child develop the building blocks of literacy. Examples of this are:
Using and understanding new words
Understanding the unstated messages in stories; reading between the lines
Interactive reading helps your child to see language used in a different way. Stories can show them examples of new concepts, interesting words, and more complex sentence structures.
We hope that you feel encouraged to have fun reading with your children. Let us know how you go with these important interactions, and which books you love reading together! We’d love to hear from you.