Making Reading Books More Meaningful

Are you ready for a week of guest posts?  All of these guests were hand picked by me because each and every one of them has something incredible to offer.  Kim from Little Stories is first up.  I’m not sure how I found her… but I ‘m so glad I did (or maybe she found me 😉 ).  She has a beautiful way of sharing speech and language development ideas.  Take it away Kim…

Reading books certainly makes the shortlist of great learning activities, BUT in this video I explain five steps to make reading books even MORE meaningful, powerful, and engaging…

To follow-up this activity and encourage even more learning, try…

  • Helping your child to act out the story with rubber ducks in the bath,
  • Singing “Five Little Ducks” song, or
  • Reading the follow-up books in the “Little Quack” series.

Have fun reading books with your child!

Kim is the woman behind the blog Little Stories… but that is not all.  She is a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist with a passion for spreading the word about early speech and language development.  Kim also offers Personal Consultations for parents and professionals.

Linked up at

It’s Playtime


  1. Pingback: Making Reading Books More Meaningful: Guest Post at A Mom With A Lesson Plan | Little Stories | Early Speech & Language Development
  2. The accompanying video LilStories shares here is wonderful! It is an ideal example of how the way you share a story with a child can get them engaged and excited about stories, storytelling, and eventually reading. This child was completely interested in the story and language being shared. A great post and video for any childcare provider, teacher, and parent.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I really hope that it encourages everyone to use books as play and not just for “listening” to stories!

    1. I’m so glad. Let me know how it goes once you try it out. It can take a little practice to use hand gestures, your voice, manage props and still stay engaged with your child, but with a little practice it gets easier quickly!

  3. Great video and lots of wonderful modeling for this little one. Your energy is engaging and really gets the little girl to use her words more and more. Thanks for sharing!

  4. But isn’t the POINT of reading with your child for you to both enjoy the sounds, rhythm and story–to promote the love of language and to be together and share memories you will never forget? I don’t quite understand having to have a “lesson” out of reading with your child. I think this is one way to tell a story, along with your child (this is more like acting out the story) but nothing beats cuddling up together with a book, reading it, and following your child’s lead, comments, turning the pages, and the mere joy of being close.

    1. Judi-

      I know what I’ve presented here is not the norm for how parents read books to their children and that it was going to raise some eyebrows. I’m really glad you pointed that out and truly appreciate your comment.

      I think what you described in your book reading scenario sounds absolutely wonderful and works great for many kids…BUT, many parents don’t have that same experience with their child for one reason or another (ex: developmental level, activity level, etc.).

      So offten parents say to me that their child just doesn’t like books. As I observed those families over time I realized it really has nothing to do with their child liking books, it has to do with their child needing to be ENGAGED in books to sit, listen, AND learn. All learners are different and many children grow to LOVE books but what they may need to find that love is just a few gestures, voices, or props and lots of energy so they can stay engaged.

      I know that the children you described don’t need all of those extra voices and props to enjoy stories, but I can tell you those extras seem to make the story better for them as well! As part of my storyteller group, we use these principles to tell stories to people of all ages. All those in the audience, particularly the adults, have commented that the stories have never been so good. I think it’s because truly being part of the experience allows the story to live through them in a much stronger way and people are impacted by it.

      So, the reason to have a point to the story you are going to tell is really just like anything else, where you put your attention is what grows. Having a simple thought about the story and what’s important in it before you start, makes you more likely to clearly convey that message once you begin, and your child will have learned more due to your clarity.

      What do you think?

  5. Great video lesson! It’s a little challenging to keep a two year old boy still for that long, but doing these things with him helps so much.

    Judi, I think that’s true for most kids, but for kids who struggle with speech I think we have to be even more intentional. There are times we definitely just read books for fun with our little guy, but then there are times we make a lesson out of it. It’s definitely helped him learn so much.

    1. Cassie- You hit the nail on the head. Anywhere a child is having difficulty takes more attention and intention from a parent.

      I recommend what you describe to parents with books AND toys. Books and toys that are just for fun or for reading alone, and then books and toys that are for true engagement and learning. I suggest leaving the first set out and available, and pulling out the “together” set so that they are even more exciting!

      I’d love to hear more about your son and his progress, or even to see a video of you sharing books!

  6. I really like this idea and how it brings the story to life. Just yesterday I read a story to my 8 year old daughter (who struggles a bit with reading) and although I didn’t use props, I used actions and a lot of expression and she led a discussion on her own about the ideas and events of the story. I am not usually so animated when I read to her, but I will be in the future because I was able to keep her actively engaged in the story the entire time.

  7. What a great video! I watched this with my 16 month old and he loved it too! He was repeating back words like “jump!” and “no no mommy!” I even heard “I can do-and some babble” I have been working hard on trying to get my son to put words together so this was very exciting for me to see! I hope you do more videos like this. I could certainly use the inspiration!!

  8. What a great video!

    Props and theatrics make a story ‘real’ to children of all ages. A book like this one – repetitive, colorful, relateable – also has a positive message that even a young one can understand. With all of your accompaning hand movements and vocal inflections, I can just imagine that a child would be eager to jump and yell “Iiiii did it!” while pumping their fists in the air throughout the day!

    Some children simply do not find looking at a book appealing, or are just not ‘there’ yet, developmentally. I love this approach, I think it is appropriate and enjoyable for all age levels and certainly is a step in the direction towards building a life-long love for literacy – thank you for sharing!

  9. With all of your accompaning hand movements and vocal inflections, I can just imagine that a child would be eager to jump and yell “Iiiii did it!” while pumping their fists in the air throughout the day!

  10. This is a question for Kim if she happens to still be seeing the comments on this page:
    I was really interested in this video – but also confused. I’ve been reading about dialogic reading where the emphasis seems to be more on asking open-ended questions and the child taking the lead. Your reading was very inspiring but I wonder whether you read books like this , plus also in the ‘dialogic reading’ style or whether you think one style has more advantages than the other.

    1. Excellent question! My answer is that it depends on the child and the level of his or her language development. This style of reading works well for very young children or for children that sometimes have a hard time listening and engaging in stories due to their language level or other needs (ex: sensory). For older children or children who can easily sit and listen to stories, dialogic readings works well.

      For my own daughter, who is still very young, we do both! She gets a ton out of reading books this way and learns new language concepts, but also is challenged to express her own ideas with the more open ended type of reading.

      One last point, is that this style of reading can also work well in a group of children where they are at different levels or when you have a very specific concept you would like to teach directly.

      Is that helpful?

  11. There is so much comfort in being surrounded by books…the pleasure of reading them…they add to the touch and feel….hold the characters … the smell of the books….i could just spend days and days around and with them!!

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