Before You Read

Pre-reading activities help kids better understand their reading.  Model how good readers make predictions, connections, and ask questions even before opening the book.  As your child gets older, do less talking and more asking.  Choose one or two of these ideas to try the next time you are reading a book together.

(Common Core Standards appear in italics.  They correlate with specific standards in different grade levels.  These standards are used in almost every school in the country.  Click the Common Core tab above to learn more.)

Toddlers and Preschoolers

  • Read the title, author, and illustrator out loud.   Talk about the jobs of author and illustrator.  (kindergarten- With prompting and support, name the author and illustrator of a story and define the role of each in telling the stor.)
  • Make connections to other stories by the same author or illustrator- “Oh, Eric Carle.  I remember he wrote and illustrated The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
  • Titles written in large fonts are perfect for pointing out letters.  Go on a letter hunt for a few letters before you begin reading.  (kindergarten- Recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet )
  • Take a close look at the pictures on the cover.  Make predictions by thinking out loud- “I see a picture of a car.  Maybe this book is about a car race.  What do you think?”  (kindergarten- With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear)
  • Compare the title and the pictures.  Think out loud- “The title is Freddy is Lost and there is a picture of a dog.  I think the dog is named Freddy.”
  • Make a connection between the book and your child- “This book is about airplanes.  Remember when we rode on an airplane ride to visit Grandma?”


  • Talk about the parts of a book and see if your child can identify the title page, dedication, and even copyright information.  (kindergarten- Identify the front cover, back cover, and title page of a book)
  • See if your child can read the title by himself.  (grades K-5- Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words)
  • Ask if she remembers any other books by the same author/illustrator.
  • Ask him if the book is a fiction or non-fiction book.  How can he tell?  (grade 1- Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types)
  • It if is a non-fiction book, ask “What do you already know about (insert subject matter here)?
  • Ask your child to write down a prediction about the book based on the cover.   What is it about?  Where does it take place?  What characters will be in it?  When you are finished reading see if the predictions were right!

Have fun reading together!


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