PBS KIDS Share a Story is a national literacy campaign designed to inspire
adults to help millions of children develop language and literacy
skills through daily activities, including book reading, drawing,
storytelling, rhyming and singing.
One of the best ways to increase a child’s vocabulary, and prepare
him and her to read, is to read aloud every day. This page provides
tips on reading aloud to children from birth through first grade.
Literacy experts have long recognized
the link between children's exposure to language and their eventual
reading success. The PBS KIDS Share a
Story campaign aims to demonstrate how any caring adult can help raise
a child's reading achievement.
Laura Bush serves as Honorary National
Chair of the campaign. Actor and literacy advocate LeVar Burton is
National Chairman. Mr. Burton
the PBS Kids program Reading
Rainbow, which has won 20 Emmy Awards
for its innovative approach to reading.
Share a Story—Shape the Future
When children’s brains are nourished by words, they are better
prepared to read and succeed in school. Any family member or caregiver,
regardless of wealth, education or native language, can help enhance
a child’s reading success by engaging in simple and fun activities.
Reading aloud, sharing stories, singing songs and making rhymes teach
children important lessons about words and how we use them.
Select the age range
that you would
like more information about:
to 18 months
Toddlers—18 to 36 months old
Preschool—3 to 4 years old
Kindergardten—Five years old
Below we've highlighted information and tips for you.
If you would like more information, visit pbskids.org/shareastory.
Back to top
Birth to Six Months:
Newborns are calmed by the sounds of lullabies and nursery rhymes
in their first stories. By four months, a baby will show interest
by chewing on them or throwing them.
Six to 12 Months:
Looking at the books together, and talking about the picture, will
enhance a baby’s interest in a story. Invite eight and nine month
olds to turn the pages.
12 to 18 Months:
Babies delight in reading books with adults. Babies are natural explorers,
so choose books with special fabrics and textures they can touch and
feel. They will turn pages, name objects and begin to enjoy simple
Tips for reading aloud to babies:
nursery rhymes and sing songs to newborns.
Introduce books to babies at around four months old.
Establish a regular reading routine by your baby’s first birthday.
Visit your local library. It’s fun for you and your baby.
Back to list
18 to 36 Months:
Even though toddlers are still developing language, reading is very
important at this age to learn about new words and concepts, and to
Tips for reading aloud to toddlers:
Show toddlers that books are special.
Encourage care when handling
Read a variety of books.
Keep it interesting for you and your toddler.
Build reading into an everyday routine.
Bedtime and naptime are often
Talk to your toddler as you read.
Label objects and ask questions.
Back to list
At this stage, children use their ever-increasing language skills to
become “big talkers” and develop an awareness of the
power of the written word. To help young children develop into readers
and writers, play with letters and their sounds, promote dramatic
play using characters from books, and read lots of books together.
for reading aloud to preschoolers:
Point out the author and illustrator.
Let them know someone created
Point out each word with your finger.
This reinforces spoken/written
Read and reread favorite books every day.
Young children delight in
Read books with a variety of characters.
This stimulates imagination.
Ask questions about the story.
This helps link your child’s life
with the story.
Back to list
Most kindergartners are on the threshold of becoming readers.
the child’s budding literacy skills, read and write as often
as possible, and introduce new words while talking together.
reading aloud to kindergartners:
Establish a special time for reading aloud every day.
Read different kids of books together.
Variety broadens knowledge and
Talk about more than just the plot of the story.
Ask why things happened
and why characters acted
in a certain way.
Let the child read and offer help only when asked or needed.
Read aloud both short chapter books and longer picture books.
Don’t limit reading to books. Encourage the reading of signs,
shopping lists, menus, etc.
Back to list
The number of words your first-grader can read and spell increase dramatically
this year. Most importantly your first-grader starts to "crack
the code" of the written language, as he sounds out words, learns
to identify them, and understands their meaning.
Tips for reading aloud
to first graders:
Discuss the book before, during and after it’s read
Encourage the child to correct reading errors by asking
that make sense?" "Does that sound right?"
Reread books to help beginners become fore fluent readers.
Make sure your child reads books at a comfortable level.
Make it positive,
Don’t be tempted to stop reading to your new reader!
books that are too difficult for the new reader.
Back to list