How to read with your grandchild

Vickie Jones, N.C. Cooperative Extension
Oct. 07, 2013 @ 09:56 AM


There is a phrase that is often used to express a community’s relationship to child rearing, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Today, many grandparents have to parent their grandchildren when parents, for whatever reason, are unable to raise them. As grandparents, you want to see your grandchild succeed whether or not you are raising them. You can help your grandchild do better in school and promote success throughout his or her life by reading with her.

Children who are learning to read need lots of opportunities to practice, and they need people to read with them. This is called “shared reading” because both you and the child are participating in the reading experience. Both you and the child will likely experience greater satisfaction and enjoyment when reading with each other.


Here are ways to make shared reading fun and effective:

• Be child-centered — set aside time where you can focus on the child, without distractions.

• Be sensitive and respectful — if the child doesn’t like a particular book or seems uncomfortable with it, switch to another book.

• Be realistic — don’t expect too much too soon.

• Be enthusiastic — share your love of reading with your grandchild, your enthusiasm is likely to be contagious.

• Be ncouraging — praise even small successes.

• Be committed — show your grandchild how important shared reading is to you by doing it regularly.


Shared reading strategies

• Picture reading — you or your grandchild make up a story about the pictures instead of reading the story. Books with lots of pictures are good for this strategy.

• Discovery reading — guide the child through a familiar book, such as Old MacDonald, with the child filling in repeated phrases.

• Echo reading — read a passage and have the child read it back to you.

• Unison reading — both you and the child read the same passage aloud at the same time.

• Whisper reading — read very quietly into your child’s ear while the child reads aloud.

• Stop and go reading — you and the child take turns reading, and the child chooses a signal to show that it’s time to switch.

• Solo reading — the child reads completely independently to you.

• Create books that include artwork and writing with the child.

• Have lots of books available.

• Let the child see you reading.

• Make reading fun!


For additional information on reading with your child, grandparents raising grandchildren or shared reading, visit the Vance County Cooperative Extension office located at 305 Young Street, Henderson, to check out materials from our lending library and meet a parent educator that can assist you with signing up for a parenting class or obtaining parenting and grandparenting materials. Thanks to funding by Franklin-Granville-Vance Smart Start, the services are available at no cost to you.