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Reading Aloud with Young Learners

There are lots of benefits to reading aloud with young learners. In this blog post, educational consultant Dani Mundy suggests some simple ways that you can use reading aloud techniques at home, whether you are homeschooling or reading for pleasure.

Reading aloud brings a book to life and takes the frustration out of decoding unknown words for lower-level readers. It can help make the reading process more engaging, especially for reluctant readers.

• Helps imagination
• Develops vocabulary
• Improves comprehension
• Fosters a love of reading
• Builds relationships

Here are a few ideas for reading aloud together at home…


The Object Storytelling Game

Step 1. Look through a book before you start reading and see how many objects you can find in your home related to the book. Put them into a bag and ask your young learner to pull out one of the objects and talk about it. What is it? What does it look like? Look at all the objects together and see if you can guess the story.

A bowl □
A spoon □
Some porridge □
A toy bear (or 3!) □

Step 2. Listen to the audio download of the book (you can find this on the Ladybird Education website). Whilst listening to the audio, encourage your young learner to pick up the object each time they hear it mentioned in the story.

Step 3. Try reading the book together by following the pictures. Then, try retelling the story using some of the objects.


Try the Echo Reading Technique

Read a short sentence from the book in a silly voice and then ask your young learner to repeat it. Use an expression: pull a funny face, a sad face, an angry face, or a happy face. Spark some fun and ask your young learner to copy you.


Let’s Get Chatting: Question & Answer

Ask questions about the story. These questions should be related to your young learner and their own experiences:
Do you like porridge like Goldilocks and the three bears?
Do you like your porridge hot or cold?
Do you have a big bed or a small bed?
Personalisation and drawing on shared experiences can really help with motivation and understanding and can be a powerful tool in the learning process.


Practising Phonics Together

Banana Muffins is a lower-level reader from the Read it yourself range with a focus on phonics. Listen to the audio of the book and have fun repeating the key sound combinations: ch, sh, th and ng.
Chad has a dish of muffin mix.
After listening to the audio or reading aloud, take some sentences out of the book to practise the sound combinations.
Drilling is a useful technique in repetition of the key sounds. Say the words, sound, or sentence quickly, slowly, loudly and then whisper it, this is a fun way to repeat sound combinations together. Once they have mastered the sounds, say it really quickly like a tongue twister.


Top Tips from Dani:

1. Give young learners a choice and a voice. Allow them to choose the book to read and keep them involved in the reading aloud process.
2. Follow their lead. Watch carefully to see which techniques your young learner finds most engaging. Then focus on using those techniques to shape the reading activities you do.
3. Make reading time a fun time. Think about your body language and facial expression as you read together. Spark fun and creativity together as you read.
4. Use props. Bring the story to life with tactile objects. This is a great way to engage kinaesthetic learners.

Next Steps?

Take a look at our Read it yourself range and explore the resources available online.