Reading Aloud to Kids: 7 Things to Notice On a Book Cover

As part of our series of read aloud tips, today I am hoping to inspire you with seven simple literacy lessons you can find right on the book cover – of any picture or chapter book. 

Tips for reading aloud with children: Things to notice on a book cover

I am not advocating that you draw attention to all of these things every time you read, but these strategies do help to develop a child’s awareness of print, and auditory and visual memory skills, which are important to their future development as future, independent readers, so they are worth consideration, especially when exploring a new-to-you title.

Reading Aloud With Kids: 7 Things to Notice On a Book Cover

When reading together with your child take a moment to notice one or two of the following on the cover before you begin;

1. Read the title of the book. You might like to point out the words which make up the title with your finger. For new-to-you books, ask your child what they think the book might be about, based on its title.

2. Read and point out the name of the author. And the illustrator.

3. Ask your child to find a letter that is significant to them, for example, the initial letter of their name. Or, for early readers, a word they can read, like a familiar sight word.

4. Before reading a book for the first time, look at the cover illustration and talk about any clues you can see which might help you to predict what the book is about and who the main characters are.

5. Invite your child to share whether they think the book is fiction or non-fiction, and why they’ve made that choice.

6. Look at the spine of the book – point out the title and talk about why a book has a spine, SquiggleMum has a great post about book spines.

7. Use correct book vocabulary – cover, pages, title, author, illustrator, illustrations, spine.

Whilst you might not do all of these things every time, taking time to explore the features of the book cover helps your child to;

  • Build prior knowledge of what the book is about,
  • Make predictions which can help with comprehension of what they are hearing or reading, and
  • Set a purpose for reading, for example, finding out information on a topic of interest,

all of which are important, especially when it comes to comprehending what you (and later, they) are reading.

And if you are looking for books to read aloud with your children, be sure to check out these collections:  150+ Picture Books to Read Aloud and 50 Read Aloud Chapter Books. Or visit our Best Books for Kids booklists for themed book suggestions to enjoy with kids of all ages.

Tips for Reading Aloud with Children- 9 Things To Notice When Reading Together
45 Fun Read Aloud Tips
150 Best Read Aloud Picture Books


  1. Posie Patchwork says:

    Ah yes, we used to do all that, just out of interest more so than it being a learning thing, although i now realise all the added extras i did were innate learning . . . & as my 4 are mathematical, we'd read the publishing house details, dates & print information. They all get As for library!! Love Posie

  2. Martianne says:

    As a former teacher and current tutor, I would like to say your tips are right on! These are things I consider natural to do, but many other folks simply don't even think about doing them. So, thank you for spreading these easy literacy ideas!

    And, thanks, too, for your great comment on THH. Take a break today, go rake a pile of leaves up and enjoy jumping in! 🙂

  3. We did all of this with our son’s, my husband used to read the Mr Men books to our boys and he would read the title then read the name of the author to them, the funny the is we where playing trivial pursuits with the boys years later and the question came up who was the author of the Mr Men books we all just looked at each other and burst out laughing!

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