Tricks for Reading with Young Children    

Reading with Young ChildrenHow to get the most out of reading to and with your child 

Do you have a preschooler who is ready to learn to read?  Is your five year old just beginning to read?  Even babies love to look at books and be read to by adults.  

It is important for their language development for them to hear stories read to them.  To help develop your child’s reading skills, your  young child should read with you as often as possible. 

Reading daily with your child can help achieve this goal, though as any busy parent knows, there isn’t always time. 

Remember that there are more things to read than just children’s books.  As part of your daily routine, help encourage your child to read store signs, the mail, newspapers, road signs, magazines, a recipe, directions on a box, a grocery list etc.  Any time, any place that you see something with words on it, read it with your child.  Read more for games and tricks to inspire your child’s love of reading. 

When reading books with your child, make it into a game rather than a task.  Often children like to re-read the same books many times.  This is a normal stage of reading, children like to memorize the words.  Below are varied ideas to focus on when reading stories with your child.  These are especially helpful if your child asks to read the same story again and again.  Each time you read the story, you can focus on a new activity.

Using the illustrations:

  • Ask your child to find specific items in the picture. Can you find the bird, the house, some animals, something blue?
  • Ask your child to find something that begins with a certain letter. Can you find a picture that begins with a b, an f or an l sound?
  • As your child becomes more proficient with sounds ask them to look for pictures beginning with a blend or digraph bl, gr, ch or sh.
  • Ask your child to find a picture that ends with a certain sound.  Can you find a picture that ends with a d sound?
  • Ask your child to find a picture that rhymes with a certain word. Can you find a picture that rhymes with mouse or wish?  What else can you think of that rhymes with snow?

Using the text:

  • Ask your child to find certain letters, uppercase M, lowercase c, any letter g
  • Ask your child to find all the d’s on the page. Make a point to choose letters that are tougher to recognize.
  • Ask your child to find a word that begins with a certain letter.
  • Ask your child to find a word that ends with a certain sound (s or p) or sounds (ps, ing etc).
  • Ask your child to find specific words.
Teach shapes, colors, letters and sounds as you read with your child.
Teach shapes, colors, letters and sounds as you read.

Reinforcing math concepts:

  • Ask your child to count specific objects on the page. How many houses, windows, animals?
  • Ask your child to tell you which item has more (or less) the trees or the bushes, the birds or the flowers.
  • Ask your child to find all the red or purple objects on a page.
  • Ask your child to find all the stripes or dots in the picture.
  • Ask your child if he sees any patterns in the illustration.
  • Ask your child to find shapes in the picture.
  • Categorizing: a truck, a car, an airplane, these are all things that _________?



Reinforcing science concepts:

  • Ask your child what season it is in the illustration.
  • Ask your child to notice if the weather or time of day changes during the story.
  • Ask your child to point out living and non-living items in the pictures.
  • Ask your child to look for solid, liquid and gas.

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Draw your child’s attention any subtle picture clues or foreshadowing in the text.  Ask them to explain why certain things happened in the story.  In general, make your child think and reason while they read.  Hopefully when reading with your child as a preschool and primary student, you develop some critical thinking skills along the way.    The benefits can be not only a lifelong love of reading but learning and thinking as well.


How to recommend just a few favorite Children’s books – so difficult.  I have my many favorites as a teacher but also as a parent of four children.

Bear in a Square by Stella Blackstone is a book I read endlessly with my first son.  But we never tired of it because we played all the reading games listed above.  It has counting, shapes & rhyming with bright beautiful pictures.Reading Tricks for Children

Some other favorites are listed below, each author has many titles.

Where’s My Teddy by Jez Alborough

Hattie and the Fox by Mem Fox

Russel the Sheep by Rob Scotton

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