Developing reading aloud skills

By Tina Colaguri

The rewards of encouraging your child to read aloud, to express themselves vocally through the imagery of the author's creation, will be evident in every aspect of his/her later life. Not only does it allow you to observe any mistakes occurring in speech, it allows the child to form opinions, likes and dislikes, and expands the imagination.

Readers who are encouraged to have confidence in their presentation will feel valued, and your listening attentively makes them feel worthy of being listened to.

Effective communication is the greatest gift you can give your child

Here are a few of the tools you will need to bring the written word to life.
  • Create a quiet area in the home that is 'the reading area'. Ideally it should be away from the distraction of electronic media, telephones, etc.
  • Seize the moment when the mood is right for reading aloud.
  • Lead by example - sit opposite your child when you are the reader.
  • Give encouragement on a daily basis by rewarding the smallest of achievements.

This is the storyteller's most valuable asset.
Does your child's voice sound like a grey cloud over a rainbow?
Vocal variety is created when the reader is in touch with his/her feelings.
Use your voice to bring characters to life, taking into account, gender, age, etc.
Facial expression must reflect the emotion.

Give awareness to speech clarity.
Consonants whether at the beginning, middle or end of a word should be heard. e.g. tap better bat
Note the difference between TH & F, M, & N, etc.
Aim for busy lips and a flexible tongue.
When the jaw is loose the vowels are musical.

Varying the pace of your delivery sustains interest and avoids monotony.

Build anticipation and create suspense by making a pause speak!


Never start too high, leaving no space for an exciting ending.

Use a rising inflection for a question and a falling inflection for a statement

Placing stress on important words brings out the meaning of a story

Playing around with volume sustains excitement and interest in the story.

Count to 4 after a full stop/exclamation mark/question mark before moving on.
Count to 2 for a comma.
Use punctuation as a mental traffic signs.

'Doing' words need to come alive so the action may be felt.

Need to be colourful.

There is no need to stress prepositions unless for effect.

Take advantage of reading aloud time for expanding discussion.
Conversation allows your child freedom of expression and should be encouraged.

Talk about:
Ideas……….... What do you think of that?
Emotions…... How do you think he feels about that?
Attitudes……. Do you think it's okay to do that?
Intentions….. What do you think the author meant?

Implementing these skills promotes clarity of delivery and thought, and allows your child to grow in confidence as a speaker.
If your child has a short attention span start by reading poetry, and slowly lead into stories.

Happy reading.