Literacy The Benefits of Reading Aloud to Your Six-Year-Old

Reading aloud to your child strengthens the part of their brain associated with visual imagery, the ability to understand stories and word meaning. Six-year-olds still love the comfort of cuddling up for a good story. And with your help, they can also pick up on important book smarts, like information about authors, illustrators, chapters, the table of contents, page numbers, indexes and back covers. These skills are called "concepts about print," and they help kids prepare to be successful independent readers.

Make the most out of story time:

Take Turns Reading

During read-aloud time, take turns reading to each other. You can alternate paragraphs, pages or chapters. For some extra fun, check out a children's play or a reader's theater collection from the library and take on the roles of different characters.

Word Play

In Truman's bunch of mini-games, your child can learn new words and act them out with her favorite characters from Martha Speaks!

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Make Story Predictions

Experts recommend that parents and caregivers ask kids to predict what will happen next when reading a book together. This builds key literacy skills such as understanding sequencing, plot structure, character motivation and cause and effect. It's as simple as stopping periodically and asking questions like:

  • What do you think is going to happen next? 
  • Oh no! What is she going to do now?
  • What would you do if you were him?
  • How are they going to solve this problem?

After they share their idea, respond with "Let's keep reading and find out what happens."

So Funny I Forgot to Laugh

In this interactive story, Arthur teases Sue Ellen about her new sweater. Your child can follow along with the story and then decide how the story should end.

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Get a Library Card

Parents sometimes struggle to find books that will hold their child's attention. The children's room at your local library can be your best ally. Browse the stacks and displays or — better yet — ask the librarian for recommendations based on your child's age and interests. Many libraries host story hour — a great opportunity not only to expose your child to reading but also to hear how another adult reads and engages kids with books. For online book recommendations by age, try Reading Rockets great read alouds for babies through Grade 3.

Library Visit

Going to the library and getting a library card can be a fun and memorable experience for your child. Prepare for your first visit by setting up a pretend library using the books in your home.

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Make Connections to Real Life

Strong readers aren't passive — their minds are constantly making connections between what they read and the world around them. As you read aloud, pause to connect the book to other books you have read together, to your memories or to places or events you both know. For example:

  • The grandma in this story reminds me of your grandma. They both love making pies and telling stories.
  • Look at all those tall buildings! It looks a little bit like New York City, where your aunt lives.
  • The kids seem nervous about the first day of school. Do you remember your first day of school?
  • There's a wizard in this story! What other stories have we read about a wizard?

Delicious Dish

Your child can learn about food groups and sorting foods in this game where Woofster needs help finding ingredients for a meal for the Super Readers!

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Pause Before Turning the Page

It's tempting to rush through books on the way to another activity. But by occasionally pressing the "pause button" before you turn a page — stopping to notice something about a picture, to explain a word, to ask a question, to make room for your child to ask a question — you can support your child's learning. Prompts like these show kids that you are engaged in the story too: "Wow. Why did he do that?" or "Oh my. I wonder what she's going to do now!"

Pup Talk

Your child can tell his own Martha Speaks story! In this microphone-based game, your child can pick parts of a story and tell it aloud.

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Raise a Reader with Super Why

Super Why introduces children to the power of reading -- and helps kids develop problem-solving skills along the way. Through engaging stories and games, your child can practice key skills like letter identification, word decoding, spelling, vocabulary and comprehension.

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Activity Finder: Learn With Your Six-Year-Old

Explore our Age-by-Age Guide: