Help children develop listening skills by offering books on tape and by playing games in which you call out oral directions and instructions for them to follow. You might also try call-and-response songs, such as the classic recording “Follow the Leader” by Ella Jenkins, in which children are asked to clap and beat out rhythms to music in various ways.

Good storybook reading is an interactive process that helps children explore language and develop many skills. Offer a variety of texts, nonfiction as well as fiction. Here are some effective techniques for reading aloud:

  • Have children ask their own questions about the story and respond to classmates’ questions.

  • Encourage them to follow the text with movement, mime, or choral reading.

  • Draw children’s attention to the forms of print, such as punctuation, letters, the space around words, chapter title placement, the line length differences between prose and poetry.

  • Provide repeated readings of the same story so children can gain mastery of the narrative, ideas, and language.

  • When reading chapter books to children, ask them to summarize before and after you read each chapter. “So where are we so far?” you might ask at the beginning of the session. And then at the end, “So what happened in this chapter?”

Pair or group children together for shared book experiences. Or put children who have the same interests together and start book clubs in your class. In the book club format, help them read the same or similar books and discuss them with one another. Teachers might use parent volunteers to come in and help with reading or discussions in the clubs. Or children can bring home books to be read with parents and report on them the next day in their book clubs.

Give children access to a wide variety of reading materials.

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