Saturday, July 3, 2010

La La Library - Mem Fox's 10 tips on how to read to your child

I had to learn how to read to my child.

Me, the voracious reader... the one who reads three books at a time, the one who's only detention in my school career came because I got caught reading a book under my desk during lectures one too many times, the one who's only gift request at my baby shower were books to start LM's library ... didn't really know how to read to my child.
I imagine it's not easy for any toddler to really pay attention to storytime, but for a child with SPD it's an extra challenge. I had imagined these tender moments of reading my favorite classics all cuddled up in our reading chair. Instead I was chasing him around the house or trying to keep him from tearing the pages. Luckily we had a wonderful speech therapist who was able to give me a crash course on how to successfully read to a little one, and in turn, how to instill a love for language, words and books. I'm glad to say it's been a huge success!

So I'm starting a weekly La La Library post. I'll share a favorite book of ours and let you in on some of the ways we make it interesting and language appropriate. Today I'll start with an awesome list of tips by one of our favorite authors, Mem Fox.

Mem Fox's 10 Read Aloud Commandments:

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. Read aloud with animation. 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 read aloud every day, mums and dads, because you just love being with your child, not because it’s the right thing to do.
Thanks, Mem! That's a great start to our La La Library posts! Now it's your turn ... What are some favorite books in your house??
Sing and Play (and Read!) the Sensory Way!


  1. We have 2 favorites. Both come with a music CD. The Marvelous Toy, by Tom Paxto and Over The Rainbow, performed by Judy Collins and paintings by Eric Puybaret. Both are fun to read and they inspire my kids imaginations.

  2. Hi Tammy! I haven't heard of The Marvelous Toy -looks like a trip to the book store is in our future!

  3. Great article! I can relate to learning how to read to your kids-I did too!

    Reading & Storytelling is a great tool-not only for receptive & expressive language, sequencing skills & entertainment but also for a creative way to stimulate the imagination & teach Life Lessons. For SPD kids I use storytelling paired with movement in my yoga classes-the kids remember & process the story better if they 'feel' it in their bodies.

    I sometimes don't even use a book-rather, I memorize the story and then create a "picture" with movement and voice inflections. I can see when they are losing interest-and when I need to end the story. You can gradually increase the duration of attention by doing it this way, and get them to interact in the story by asking age appropriate questions: "What did they see in the forest?" "Where should they go next?" etc.

    I usually have a "Story Of The Month" Feature on my page with photos of movements as an example:

    You don't have to know yoga- you can "Make up" movements to go with the story as you tell it-this works with ANY Story!

    Some Favorites of Mine:

    ANY Eric Carle Book
    "Old Turtle"
    "The Dandelion Seed"
    "The Rainbow Fish"
    "Where the Wild Things Are"
    "Goodnight Moon"
    "The Great Kapok Tree"

    I absolutely love your blog-this is such a great parent resource here!