Inspiring Early Readers with Read-Along Books

In the library we often encounter children who struggle with reading. Parents come to us looking for resources to help their children and looking for reading level appropriate texts for their struggling readers. As a children’s librarian who struggled with reading as a child, I always try to reassure parents and suggest some of the many tools the library can offer.  

One thing I frequently recommend is read-along books. SMCL has read-along books that provide full professional audio narration using an audio reader that is attached to the book. Reading along with an audio book has been shown to improve reading comprehension. As children listen to a text read aloud, they can follow along with their finger pointing to the words. This process can help children with learning to decode print. Listening to the professional narration helps to improve reading fluency. SMCL has a variety of high-interest picture books and non-fiction books for children with the audio reader attached. We also have read-along pictures books with audiobook CDs inside the cover.  

But read-along books do not just help struggling and emerging readers, they can also be helpful for ESL readers of any age. They are a multi-sensory experience which may appeal to children with sensory issues. And, for parents of very young, pre-literate children they can help teach early literacy skills and help with requests for repeat readings of favorite books! Read-along books can even be helpful for long car trips (they have a headphone jack).  

Check out a read-along book today! Let us know what you think in the comments below. You can also visit one of our SMCL library branches to speak to our knowledgeable staff about other print and digital resources we can provide to help your emerging reader.  

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of San Mateo County Libraries