'Reading With Your Child - On the Path to Literacy'
By Trudi Barrett ©

Here are some ideas to try when reading stories together.


Look at the cover and read the author and illustrator's names. Look for information on the back of the book about the author. When was the book written? This helps children develop an understanding of whom their favourite author might be, as well as helps them realize that writing books is a possible career! Authors are real people!

Start at the beginning and look at the pictures together. Point out things of interest together. Ask your child what might be happening, and why?


  • Have fun using creative expression and different voices. Make it extra funny by using unusual voices in a familiar story – for example, a high, squeaky voice for the wolf and a deep, booming voice for the pig.
  • Follow along with your finger – your child may catch a few words this way. This also sets the stage for a good habit when your child begins reading.
  • When you see an opportunity, stop and ask your child what might happen next. If your child comes up blank, you can model how to predict by offering a couple of ideas. One might be probable, while the other improbable. Your child can then choose. It's okay to guess and not be correct. Read on to find out what happens!
  • Ask your child if he/she has ever experienced a particular event or feeling in the story, and what happened next. How did it feel? Relate events to your own lives.
  • Read one or two pages, then close the book and have your child retell what just happened. This is an excellent skill that can develop gradually until your child can retell all the events from beginning to end.
  • Discuss who the different characters are and find some qualities of each. Is a character brave or creative? How do you know? Relate them to people you know.
  • Discuss the setting – ask your child's opinion of the time and place, then give your own.
  • Could this story really happen? Is it fiction or non-fiction? How do you know?


  • change the ending or change the names of characters to your children's names as you read
  • leave out words in familiar stories (especially at the end of sentences) for your child to fill in
  • skip a page in a familiar book to see how well your child knows the progression of events and alerts you to your error
  • instead of reading a book together, be your own storytellers:
  • "Once upon a time, there was a little boy/girl named, _____________ . He/She had a best friend named, _____________ . They loved to go ______________ . etc.
  • If your child is unwilling to help you create the story, that is okay. After a few fables starring your child, he/she will be ready to help you out for the next one!


Filling your home with good-quality, interesting books is as easy as a trip to your local library. Making a daily ritual of reading will not only instill a love of reading in your children, but will bring you closer to them. It is a win/win situation! Try creating a special time and place to read every day. Be a model yourself by turning off the TV, putting your feet up and diving into a favourite novel.

Enjoy the wide world of reading together!

Check out my YouTube channel for kids, Miss Trudi’s Bookshelf! I read favourite children’s books without distracting background music.