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My preschoolers are just getting to the ages where they are loving read alouds. They’ve always loved reading (I’m so thankful and I know that’s an undeserved gift), including sitting down to “read” their own books before they knew any sight words. They’ve also listened to me (and my husband and other family members) read to them often. But, we’ve just this year started reading aloud chapter books.
Reading aloud chapter books at a higher reading level than your kid’s current abilities helps model correct speech/reading, includes inflection changes, provides quality time, encourages vocabulary development, and more. Check out posts from Reading is Fundamental and the American Library Association for more on benefits of reading aloud to your children. If you have a child with special needs, First 5 has some tips and resources listed here.
(New to reading aloud? Check out this post from Stay At Home Educator with tips for reading aloud to your child.)
Both kids love it, but my son, who has multiple special needs, adores it. He even sits beside me to track what I’m reading sometimes.
But, I don’t expect him to sit beside me the entire time I read aloud. He’s a sensory seeker and physically needs to move to get sensory input for his nervous system to feel balanced.
So what can he do that isn’t too noisy while I read aloud?
7 Activities for Your Child to Do While You Read Aloud at Home
This list provides just seven ideas to try. These activities are useful for kids with special needs, sensory seekers, or kids who just need to move. Moving doesn’t always prohibit listening. In fact, some kids listen better when they are doing another activity utilizing different senses.
- Tunnel games. A couple of years ago, my kids were given an indoor play tent with a tunnel attached. The tent itself is stored elsewhere, but the tunnel remains available for my kids to use any time. We recently incorporated new movements that the kids are loving. Read about five tunnel activities we’ve played.
- Bounce on a stability ball. Though you probably can’t have your kid bounce laps around the house and still listen to you read aloud, your child can bounce in place on one (with your help as needed).
- Fidget toys. Many companies design toys that (quietly) provide sensory input, like this one. (You can search for “kid fidget toys” on Amazon to find many ideas.)
- Flip through another book. My son will often sit just two or three feet away from me and flip through a book while I’m reading aloud from a different book. He might not catch every word, but I don’t expect him to, and I know he’s listening because he’ll repeat certain words or sit beside me during a really interesting part.
- Eat lunch or a snack. Eating provides big sensory input. And your kids are relatively still while eating. It’s a good time to read aloud!
- Playdough. Playdough is a sensory-filled and quiet activity. My son will often just squeeze and tear apart the playdough without concentrating on making some specific thing, so he can still listen to a read aloud.
- Drawing. Allow your child to draw a picture about what you’re reading or just doodle while listening. (You’ve heard that doodling can actually improve memory and concentration, right?)
The options don’t end here. Give something a try and see if it helps!
What do your kids like to do while you read aloud? Which of these activities would you like to try?