Reading out-loud, or for an audience, can be a little bit daunting, even when that audience is 2 years old and has the biggest eyes and cutest smile. Here are some tips on reading aloud that can be used when reading in person or via UTR video:
- Pick a book that is age appropriate for the children.
- Read the book to yourself first so you are comfortable with the words and illustrations. Pick out content on different pages to highlight or for elaboration.
- Address your children by name.
- Share where you are if OPSEC allows.
- Introduce the book to the children using the book title and the author’s name. Tell the children why you picked out this particular book for them. Maybe it was a favorite of yours when you were growing up or the main character reminds you of the children, or the activity was something you know interests them. Perhaps you just saw the book and really wanted to read it to them.
- Read to the children. (Pretend they are the camera) Look at the camera (children) and turn the book towards the camera so they can see the pictures. Engage them as you read.
- Modulate your voice and use different voices, sounds, or rhythms to keep the story fun, dynamic, and interesting.
- Draw attention to the content you want to highlight and talk about it a little bit. It’s okay to break from the story to talk to them, just as you would if you were reading together in person.
- Ask the children questions, even if they can’t respond directly to you they will interact with the video. (The parent or caregiver at home can capture this interaction on video and send it back to the service member, or can do an activity related and send it to the service member.)
Service member reads on video; video is sent home with book.
Children at home watch video and follow along in book.
Caregiver captures child reading/reacting in video/photo and sends back to service member.
Service member’s morale is boosted by connecting from a distance and is encouraged to read again.
- Don’t worry about making mistakes. If you make a mistake, just correct yourself and keep on going. When children are learning to read they will make mistakes, and you can reinforce it is okay not to be perfect.
- Say good-bye to the children, let them know you enjoyed reading to them, give a little message they can keep in mind until the next storytime. Sending an air hug or blowing a kiss often goes over well with our military kids!
- Again! Again! These are the words most likely to come out of the children’s mouths after seeing the video for the first, second, and ninety-ninth time they view it! You have given these children a true gift from the heart. Well done!