Reading to Children – 5 Tips from Librarian Bec!

Date :
August 21, 2021

Reading to Children

Reading to Children – 5 Tips from Librarian Bec!

As librarians, we often encounter kids who just aren’t interested in reading a story. They’re fidgeting, they’re playing with the puppets, they’re telling you about their swimming lesson that morning. So, what do you do? How do you get this child to engage with the story? How do you catch their interest so the other children aren’t disrupted? And how do you engage your own child in reading when they just aren’t into it? Check out these five tips from Librarian Bec and get your child back on track with reading! 

Bec’s Five Tips to Engage with Reluctant Readers

1. Let your child choose the books

Kids respond well when you include them in the process. In a formal setting like a library story time session, we often choose several books and ask the children which one they’d like to read first. At home, you can let your child choose the books that you’ll read together.  Letting them make this decision means they have a vested interest reading the story – they’ll be keen to find out what happens. Plus, they get to pick something they’re actually interested in! 

2. Ask your child questions about what you’re reading

During a story time session, we often stop throughout the story to ask the children questions about what we’re reading. If the characters in the story are going to the beach, we ask the kids questions like ‘do you like going to the beach?’ ‘What’s your favourite thing to do at the beach?’ ‘Do you think going swimming with a hippo would be fun?’ ‘Would spaghetti be a fun thing to eat at the beach?’ ‘Do you think this character is a good swimmer?’ Anything at all to get them invested in the story, and to relate it back to things they’ve already experienced or words they’re already familiar with. This is definitely something you can do at home with your kids. Relate your questions back to things they like to do, things they like to eat, or places they might have been. 

3. Use props like soft toys, puppets and blocks

Props are a very important part of story time. You can use puppets to read the story, to react to the story, to interact with your kids as they listen – anything that piques their interest and engages them in what’s happening. Toys, blocks, or things like shakers that make noise can help them recognise and interact with the storyline to make it easier to understand.  

4. Use different voices for the different characters

Using sounds, making different voices, and allowing yourself to look a little silly is FUN. Make noises! If there’s a pig in the book, oink whenever it appears on the page! Children will love this fun, interactive experience – they’ll laugh, they’ll make the noises along with you, and they’ll want you to repeat it.  

5. Use music

Story time sessions are never just about books – we sing and dance, too! Your child may not like sitting still long enough to enjoy reading, so make it more fun for them and include songs that relate to the book. Dance with them, sing, get up and move around. It all helps, and you’ll find your child will eventually associate reading books with having fun.  

May Gibbs is a perfect place to start when it comes to early literacy and childhood – and there’s a range of activities to engage all sorts of readers!


Librarian BecLibrarian Bec
Right now, Librarian Bec’s hard at work at your local library, sharing a passion for reading with little people and big. Bec writes about inspiring little readers and embracing lovely literature.