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Reading Tips for Parents: Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. Why is reading aloud so important for children?
  2. At what age should we begin to read to children?
  3. How can we make reading powerful, effective, and fun?
  4. We’re too busy to read to our kids. How can we fit it into our schedule?
  5. Our house is always noisy and busy. How can we find quiet space to read?
  6. We don’t have children’s books. Where can we get them?
  7. How do I choose good books for my child?
  8. My children are restless. How can I make reading more fun for them?
  9. Is it okay to read the same book over and over?
  10. How do I read to my children if I don’t speak English?

1. Why is reading aloud so important for children?

Here’s what reading expert and Bring Me A Book™ Trainer Julie Fowlkes has to say:

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2. At what age should we begin to read to children?

Parents should read to children from birth!  Reading to newborns is a must according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.  The years from birth through age four are critical for brain development – the brain is 90% developed by the time a child turns four. Reading aloud to babies stimulates developing senses, and builds listening and memory skills that can help babies grow up to be readers. However, it is never too late to begin reading to children.

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3. How can we make reading powerful, effective, and fun?

  • Let your child choose the book
  • Snuggle in!
  • Read slowly
  • Read the author and title of the book
  • Let your child turn the pages
  • Make predictions
  • Encourage/praise your child
  • Read while children are playing
  • Be silly, dramatic, and have fun!

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4. We’re too busy to read to our kids. How can we fit it into our schedule?

  • Read books during bath time.
  • Read a shorter book, or read a longer book over the course of a few days, a little at a time.
  • Read at the same time every day, either right before your child goes to bed or another time that works with your schedule. Make it part of your routine.
  • Carry a book in your bag, just as you might carry a snack or a toy.
  • Keep books in the car for your child to read while you drive.
  • Have an older child read to you and your younger child.


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5. Our house is always noisy and busy. How can we find quiet space to read?

  • Involve the entire family.
  • Turn off the TV, radio, and computer.
  • Take a book to the park, or sit outside.
  • Read to the child in his/her bed just before going to sleep as part of your bedtime routine


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6. We don’t have children’s books. Where can we get them?

  • Borrow books from the public library or school library.
  • Read books from a Bring Me A Book™ Book Bag Library.
  • Ask for books as birthday and holiday presents instead of toys.
  • Borrow or exchange books with friends and relatives.


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7. How do I choose good books for my child?

  • Take a look at the Bring Me A Book™ Hong Kong Recommended Booklists.
  • Look for books with beautiful illustrations. The illustrations should enhance the story – telling more than the words.
  • Read the first few pages to get a sense of the language. It should flow naturally.
  • Think about what messages you want your children to hear. Select books that support self-esteem; promote connectedness to others, reflect on history and experiences, and promote understanding and respect for others.


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8. My children are restless. How can I make reading more fun for them?

  • Read to them while they are playing.
  • Read in an animated way, creating unique voices for different characters.
  • Make games, finger plays, or action songs to go along with books.
  • Read when they are sleepy, especially before nap and bed time.
  • Don’t worry so much about finishing the book, but more about connecting with your child as you read it.
  • Read a book that you and your child can act out.
  • Read a shorter book.

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9. Is it okay to read the same book over and over?

Yes, young children love repetition. Repeat readings help children master story lines, language and ideas in a story and to understand rhythm and poetry in familiar narratives.  The best books are ones that make children say, “Read it again.” The ideal combination of books is: one favorite, one familar, one new.

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 10. How do I read to my children if I don’t speak English?

  • Tell a story from the pictures in a book.
  • Read a book in your native language.
  • Read a bilingual book.
  • Have siblings or a relative read.

Play an audio recording of an English language book so that you can learn together. Read to your child in English as a way to practice your language skills too.

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