Reading aloud to young children is a great way to introduce them to books, phonics, spelling, and stories they won’t soon forget.
However, for those times that you can’t be there to be serve as their heroic narrator, read-aloud websites can help keep your kids or students engaged and always learning at their own pace.
What Is a Read-Aloud Book?
Read-aloud books are books that are ideal for reading aloud to children. It’s always good for parents or teachers to read books aloud to their children, especially when they’re just starting to learn to read.
But if you’re working late or just want to encourage some extra, independent practice, you can enlist the help of read-aloud websites, which feature voice actors who read children’s books aloud while listeners follow along.
Read-aloud websites can provide excellent alternatives to video games or web browsing when you’re looking for a fun (yet educational) way to entertain your kids or students.
The Best Websites for Read-Aloud Books
The following websites are great resources for read-aloud books that are sure to entertain young minds.
1. Storyline Online
Storyline Online is brought to us by the SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artist) Foundation, and it features professional and familiar actors reading children’s books.
Readers include familiar faces like Eva Longoria, Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White, and dozens more
Shots alternate between actors reading the books in a storytime setting to close-ups of the pages and illustrations. New books are added each month.
2. The Professor Garfield TOON Book Reader
The Professor Garfield Foundation is a non-profit that aims to help alleviate the literacy problem in the U.S. (Currently, about 40% of all fourth graders in the United States read below the basic level.)
Their site features tons of resources for parents and teachers, and their TOON Book Reader includes high interest level texts, and students can browse their library (and listen to) comics in 5 different languages.
3. Starfall: I’m Reading!
Starfall is a popular site for phonetic development, where learners can practice identifying letters or reading complete sentences.
Access plays, fiction and nonfiction titles, folk tales, Greek myths, and even Chinese fables. Readers can also opt to figure out the sentences themselves, get help with a specific word, or hear the entires story read to them.
Students can have fun with phonics songs and holiday games, which can be especially helpful resources for teachers of young readers.
4. Just Books Read Aloud
Just Books Read Aloud is an excellent option for teachers and parents who want to give their students and children a little more freedom to read and listen independently, since they can be assured that children can’t navigate away toward other YouTube leads.
The site features only children’s books and was designed to be intuitive, even for non-readers. Animations follow along with the book by zooming in on the page being read, and out to the next.
In addition, the books are frequently reordered, which encourages children to try new books. The entire site can be read/listened to in English, Spanish, Italian, French, German, or Japanese.
How Do You Read Aloud Stories?
If you’re looking for ways to amp up your reading time with your kids, you might try some of these tips to ensure they’re engaged, entertained, and always following along:
- Preview the book. Even if we’re talking about a short picture book, you’ll do a better job narrating if you have at least an idea of what to expect.
- Prepare a comfy reading area. Whether you’re reading for a classroom of 25 or one sleepy toddler, make sure that all listeners will be comfortable for the duration of the reading.
- Hold the book open wide. Don’t forget that someone else is following along, so you want to give your audience the best view possible of the images and words.
- Do your best acting. We can’t all be Meryl Streep, but your listeners will definitely appreciate some dramatic sound effects, hand motions, facial expressions, and different voices for different characters.
- Involve your audience. Give your listeners a line to repeat, a sound effect to make at a certain cue, or some other way to participate.
- Discuss. Brainstorm some engaging questions for after the reading session to keep your listener’s minds on what they’ve just heard and read.
The Best Books for Kids
Read-aloud books are a great way to encourage children to read. If you’re looking for more material, there are plenty of options out there, from free children’s ebooks to our own selection of books for kids at TCK.
The important thing is to make time for reading in your child’s everyday routine, and try to reflect the same excitement for reading and learning that you’d like to see in your child.
Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments below!
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