Storytime Strategy: Thinking Out Loud

Bean bags are probably the next best thing that happened to story time.   Library denizens ranging from preschoolers to eighth graders have grown a fondness for those comfy pieces of furniture and have consequently fallen prey to the lure of story time.

For us parents though, the essence of story time goes beyond huge pillows.  What matters most to us is how story time develops our children’s reading and comprehension skills.  One effective technique at making kids understand a story is thinking out loud while reading.

When we think out loud, or talk about the character’s emotions and actions, we encourage kids to think about the story.   Kids learn to predict events and summarize stories.

Questions we could ask are, “Why do you think the character did that?”  “Do you think he’ll come back?”  These prompt the kid to think and understand what the story is about.

One characteristic of a good reader is someone who manages to connect his own life experiences with the story.  By thinking out loud and asking questions as he reads, your kid enhances this skill.

It’s all about interacting with what’s being read and promoting thinking in the listener or reader.  The goal is to inspire active learning through storytime.  When you end up with intelligent readers, then you know that storytime has served its purpose.


About Pepper

I am a single working mom, trying to raise my kid the best way I know how. Join me as I navigate my way through the jungle that is Single Mom-hood, armed with rose-colored glasses and strength of spirit. As pepper adds spice to food, so does my daughter add spice to my life. She makes life no less than…PEPPERRIFIC!

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  1. very nice post! actually, i am doing a series on reading.. hope you can drop by to check it out! :)

  2. Great post! We love story time. I read to my little one every day; I hope I can pass on my love of literature to her. :)

  3. I must admit that sometimes I’m just tempted to keep on reading and get it over and done with and I have to make a conscious effort to ask questions and engage in conversation. Especially when it’s bed time and I just want to get to my bed as quickly as possible. Your post is an excellent reminder why I am making the conscious effort (and it makes me feel good about myself:)

  4. Great post! You’re so right about how important it is to talking about the reading. It’s amazing how we don’t even think about things as simple as dialogue in our heads as we read. For some this isn’t a natural process and practicing it out loud helps it to become a natural process. Many parents don’t realize this. So glad you wrote this :)

  5. We love reading here. Right now I’m reading Mr. Popper’s Penguins to Pierce.

  6. Pamela / Pamela's Heavenly Treats says

    Wonderful post! My kiddies love to read and my younger ones love to be read to, we have so many books and we love them all!

  7. Same here!
    Yue grew up being surrounded by books, so it’s not surprising that he loves to ‘read’. :)

  8. This is such a nice share…Thanks so much.

    Hopping from BC Bloggers :-)

  9. I am a HUGE fan of asking higher order thinking questions during story time. It’s great if my son enjoys the story, but it’s even better when he enjoys it AND develops/hones a skill.

  10. Rochelle says

    Nice post! So true! This reminds me how my mother read to me a story when I was young, and as I get older I realized things the same way.

  11. Anne @ GreenEggs&Moms says

    Love, love, love reading! And totally agree that asking questions does a lot of good to the kiddos. Have a great week, Pepper!

  12. This is a great post! I am an elementary school teacher, so I’m used to thinking aloud with my 3rd graders when we read together. But this is a good reminder that the strategy works with kids of ALL ages.

  13. Great post. I’m a college teacher though and we don’t practice this anymore.. they’re on their own already… but it’s always a help if they’ve gone through this process so I’ll have a lighter job at class.

  14. great tip! :) i love reading and i do hope my son would, too :)
    visiting from bc bloggers

  15. anne lei says

    so true sis. that is why i stop reading eat, pray, love. nakakerelate akong masyado. lol

  16. Nice post. I’ll apply this with my son :)

  17. Jessica Cassidy says

    when my kids were little :-) I used to read them bed story, now it is the opposite, they will read Mommy the story :-) It still a great bonding though :-)

  18. When I was a kid, my mom often asked, “How would you feel if you were ?” That’s why probably until now, in every book I read, I always see myself as part of it, whether it’s the main character or just a tree. :D

  19. When I was a kid, my mom often asked, “How would you feel if you were ?” That’s why probably until now, in every book I read, I always see myself as part of it, whether it’s the main character or just a tree. :D

  20. The stories I heard from my mom and my older sisters still echoes in my mind. Aside from teaching the kids about comprehension and reading skills, story time is a bonding moment that your kids will cherish forever.

  21. My kids love our story time. I ask questions in certain parts of the story to see if they understand what I’m reading. Also to check if they are listening well or about to fall asleep :)

  22. Emily Page says

    I loved story time when I was a kid. True, it allowed my mind to wander about things. It stimulated the creativity in me. :)

  23. I think I may be needing more patience with regards to reading stories for my daughters. I feel sleepy every time we’re in the middle of the story kasi LOL

  24. I love repetative stories like the gruffalo because the Bunny and I both yell out things like, “Didn’t he know???” (to which she almost always replies, “No, Mommy, He didn’t!”).
    So I know she’s following the story and that she’s anticipating the next thing.

  25. redamethyst says

    Thanks for this tips, I’ve been trying to read with my son lately especially at night.

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