The rules of reading aloud to kids

Mem Fox is an author of children’s books and a literacy specialist in education. She shares her “10 commandments” for reading aloud with your child, to encourage healthy reading development and a good love of books.

1. Spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every single day reading aloud.

2. Read at least three stories a day: it may be the same story three times. Children need to hear a thousand stories before they can begin to learn to read.

3. Use lots of animation when reading aloud. Listen to your own voice and don’t be dull, or flat, or boring. Hang loose and be loud, have fun and laugh a lot.

4. Read with joy and enjoyment: real enjoyment for yourself and great joy for the listeners.

5. Read the stories that the kids love, over and over and over again, and always read in the same ‘tune’ for each book: i.e. with the same intonations on each page, each time.

6. Let children hear lots of language by talking to them constantly about the pictures, or anything else connected to the book; or sing any old song that you can remember; or say nursery rhymes in a bouncy way; or be noisy together doing clapping games.

7. Look for rhyme, rhythm or repetition in books for young children, and make sure the books are really short.

8. Play games with the things that you and the child can see on the page, such as letting kids finish rhymes, and finding the letters that start the child’s name and yours, remembering that it’s never work, it’s always a fabulous game.

9. Never ever teach reading, or get tense around books.

10. Please try reading aloud every day, mums and dads, because you just love being with your child, not because it’s the right thing to do.


This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot. Sources include Mem Fox’s Ten Read Aloud Commandments.

One Comment

  1. Alezandra 04/01/2019 at 8:20 pm

    Number 4. – we do read out loud before bedtime and sometimes the joy is gone or just wanting to get on with it so we can get straight to bedtime. Thanks for the reminder. I also love that my hubby who’s not too much of a reader has joined the read out loud with us (but then again he feels like it’s a chore.)

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