Birth to age 5

Reading together can be done anywhere, at any time. Explore different ways of reading before kindergarten, and find ways to read together that work for your family!

Read to your child


Child's choice

Let your child choose the book, even if it's the same one over and over again.


Show and tell

Help your child follow along by pointing to the words as you read, showing how we read left to right, and that your spoken words are connected to the printed words on the page.


No rules

Be flexible with yourself and your child. You don’t have to read every word or page, and if your child is done, go ahead and stop! Try again later or another day.


On the move

Know that your child may not want to sit still, but they are still benefitting from you reading.


Fun for all

Have some fun with reading! Use voices, expression, or movement to bring stories to life, or try doing what a character is doing, like reading in a whisper when a character is whispering.

Read with your child


Your turn

Involve your child in the story by having them say repeated phrases with you, or pausing to let them fill in the blank for rhyming words. 


Ask questions

Stop occasionally and ask your child questions about the book like, “Why do you think she was sad?” or “What do you think will happen next?”


Build vocabulary

When you see a word that’s new to your child, finish the sentence and then stop and talk about the new word. Try re-reading the sentence so that they hear the word again, too.


Connect to the child’s world

Ask your child if whatever is happening in the story has happened to them, like visiting a new place or meeting a new friend. Have they seen whatever is being described (things like a bug or a thunderstorm)?

Your child reads to you



Ask your child to retell a story that they know and love.


Guiding pictures

Look at a book’s pictures and ask your child what they think is happening, or ask them to make up a story from what they see.

If your child gets stuck, ask questions to help them continue “reading” the story to you, like, “What happened next?”

If English is a second language for your family, read together with your multilingual child in your native language. Building vocabulary, oral language, and listening comprehension skills in a child’s first language supports the process of learning the same skills in English.

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