Tips for Reading Aloud: 9 Things To Notice When Reading Picture Books

Following on from 7 Things to Notice on the Cover, our latest collection of tips for reading aloud includes nine things to notice inside a picture book when reading with young children – specifically pre-readers and early readers.

Tips for Reading Aloud with Children- 9 Things To Notice When Reading Together

Whilst I would never advocate doing any or all of these things every time you read, these strategies help to develop a child’s awareness of print and auditory and visual memory skills, which are important to their future development as independent readers.

And if you really want to have an impact on your future readers, check out our big list of ideas for making your read aloud time the BEST part of your day.

Tips for Reading Aloud: 9 Things To Notice When Reading Picture Books

1. As you read a new-to-you book, pause after a few pages or after a significant event happens in the story, to make observations about what you have read so far, or to ask a question about what is happening in the story.

2. For older children with a new-to-you book, pause after a significant event in the story to ask your child what they think will happen next (developing prediction skills which support comprehension), or what they would do if they found themselves a similar situation to what is unfolding in the story.

3. In picture books, the illustrations are as important as words. Point out interesting details or clues as to what is happening in the story.

4. At the appropriate moment with an already familiar book, pause as an invitation for your child to join you in saying aloud a rhyming word, familiar phrase or chant, for example, “Where is the green sheep?”

5. Ask your child to point to where the words are on a page (as separate to the illustrations). Talk about the words being the part of the book which you read.

6. Point to the words as you read them. This will show your child where you start reading, that you read English from left to right and that there is one word represented on the page for each word that you say.

7. When re-reading already  familiar books, point out (or ask your child to point out) any letters which are significant to them, for example, the first letter of their name.

8. For older children, notice a punctuation marks, such as a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark and talk about the purpose of it.

9. Explore the end pages of your picture book. SquiggleMum has a wonderful post about the purpose and possibilities of end pages.

Looking for books to read aloud with your children? 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.

45 Fun Read Aloud Tips
150 Best Read Aloud Picture Books
50 best read aloud chapter books for kids


  1. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    Your tips are wonderful. I love the idea of looking at the end of the book.

  2. Those are great ideas, Christie. I especially like the ideas of taking time out to talk about the illustrations; as an avid reader myself, I tend to get caught up in the words and forget that, especially to my 2-year-old, taking long journeys into the pictures is an important part of the book. And pointing to each word is a great idea too; it's an easy way of reinforcing those early reading ideas.


  3. Thank you for this!!!!! very helpful information!!!!!

  4. K's Mommy says:

    Christie, I loved your post and did many of these things with my daughter before, after and during our reading time together. I even taught her about the author, illustrator and the copyright date (my husband balked at this part). This was done while she was in PreK and she’s now in Kindergarten. We continue to read together and our book discussions have not tainted her love for reading or kept her from sharing her own views on any given story.

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