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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Preschool Quicktip #2: Reading over the shoulder

When reading aloud to a group of students, be sure to hold the book up where all of the children can see it as you read. This will help eliminate some of the complaining during story time and allow the preschoolers to stay engaged. They do want to see the pictures - so make sure they can.

Reading over your shoulder takes a little practice and coordination but it is a terrific skill that your students will appreciate. To get better at reading over your shoulder, be sure and become familiar with the book before you read it to the class - this way you will be less reliant on having to focus so much on the words and the words will come more smoothly as you read.

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vanessa said...

Oh my, thank you so much for posting this tip! I am an early childhood specialist for a public school where I coach and mentor pre-k teachers. You wouldn't believe how many EC teachers don't know this!!

Teacher Tom said...

Great advice! I also like to point to pictures and/or words to help focus their attention. And yes, we usually spend the first minute or so of story time making sure everyone can see.

I've learned from experience to not read books aloud that I'm not already familiar with! =)

Deborah J. Stewart said...

Normally, I always sit on the floor with the children and hold the book up and angle it down a bit - quite a challenging thing to hold the book in one hand, point to pictures, read over your shoulder, and still look at the kids! Reading aloud is a skill that I like to encourage preschool teachers to work on:)

Marisa Constantinides said...


When I taught children I had two tricks to do what you're doing, perhaps your readers can find them useful:

One was to make a set of cards which I hid behind the book (if I was using a book with not a lot of writing I would just copy or photocopy the words) so I could hold the book up for the children to see while I read "back to front" !!!)

Incidentally this is a great trick for flashcards too - a small pencilled note on the back of the card.

The children loved this and kept asking me if I was a magician - until a little monkey sneaked behind my back and found me out!!

The other one - quite a simple one really - was to record the story with my voice and play it while we all looked at the book page.

Reading stories to children is hugely important for all sorts of reasons, including language development, and thanks for reminding us all of how to do it well!

Deborah J. Stewart said...

Those are both awesome ideas - thanks for sharing them with us. I like both methods - the recording would be a fun way to change things up a bit too!

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