Reading With Your Child 3

How to Read and Talk about a Story with My Child

by Panyaden School Head Teacher, Michel Thibeault

Michel Thibeault, Head Teacher (English) at bilingual Panyaden School Chiang Mai


Reading with students at Panyaden School Chiang Mai

Rule #1: Don’t force a child to read:

  • Forcing your child to read may be a short-term gain but could create long-term damage.
  • Read to him if he’s not ready to read to you!

Rule #2: Make it personal and relevant!

  • Questions should mostly be about the relationship between the reader and the story. It is best to avoid factual questions to which you already know the answers such as: “What’s the name of the dog?” or “What is Pau doing?” etc.
  • It’s alright to scan the entire book and the illustrations before beginning.
  • Don’t turn the listening time into an interrogation session. Examples of relevant questions:

♦ “Have you read this book before?”
♦ “Can you summarize the story for me before you read it again?”
♦ “What do you think she will do next?”
♦ “Do you know someone who has this kind of dog?”
♦ “Did his dog ever do sometimes similar to Paul’s dog?”
♦ “Did you like that story?”
♦ “What was your favourite part? Why?”
♦ “If you were Peter, would you have done the same thing?”
♦ “Why do you think she did that?”

Rule #3: Put your heart into it!

  • Create a warm and caring atmosphere around reading time.
  • Allow your child to choose the book or at least fully agree with your suggestion of book.
  • Change voice for every character.
  • Add sound effects!
  • Laugh when it’s funny. Be sad when it is.
  • Enjoy this unique time with your child!

Rule #4: Be creative!

  • Here are some suggestions:
1. Make a picture of the 2-3 characters in the story. Cut them out, list the traits on the back, children can then play a character guessing game.
2. Make a timeline of events either in pictorial or in written form.
3. Make a timeline of events either in pictorial or in written form.
4. Make a trivia game about the story.
5. Use puppets to help you re-tell the story.
6. Make a comic strip of the story.
7. Use a Venn diagram or other graphics to compare two characters in the story.
8. Write or state clues about your story to see if others can guess which story you read.
9. Write part 2 or a sequel to the story.
10. If you could be in this story, decide which person you would be and say why.
11. Make a list of everything in the story that could be fact or fantasy.
12. Prepare a commercial or advertisement to sell this book to somebody who hasn’t yet read it.
13. Create a poster to spark interest in others to read the book.
14. Write 5 questions that somebody who has read the book should be able to answer.
15. Design a new cover for this book.
16. Make a list of what makes a good book.
17. If you had to buy something for each of the characters, what would they be and why?
18. Is there a problem in the story? How was it solved? How could it be solved in another way?
19. Write to the author telling him your opinion about the book and why.
20. Dress up as the main character and tell the story from his point of view.
21. Draw the map of the main places mentioned in the story.
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