Bookbug Detective: Managing the Challenge of Reading Aloud

Child reading, Paul Watt
Category: Bookbug

The Bookbug Detective is here to help you with any questions you have about books and reading for your little one. Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions so far. The Detective has selected a question to answer below. If you'd like some book recommendations or advice send the Bookbug Detective an email, or post it in the comments below!

I’m not the best reader myself and have always struggled to read aloud as I make a jumble of my words. My son is 2 just now and it’s not so bad with the shorter stories but when he gets older and starts to read longer stories, I’m worried my issues will affect him.

Thank you so much for getting in touch. It’s totally understandable that you’re worried about this. Reading aloud can be a really difficult thing to do, especially if you’re not comfortable in your own reading ability.

I’ve included some tips below which will hopefully give you some ideas and put your mind at ease.


You don’t have to read books word for word and it doesn’t matter if you get it wrong; it’s the experience of sharing a book with your child that counts. Regardless of your literacy levels, if you spend time with your son exploring books, it will help boost his literacy skills.

Talk about the pictures

Point things out and discuss what you can see. Link them to things your son can relate to. Choose books that encourage conversation and have lots of things to explore.

For ideas on books to share, start with our book lists 8 Interactive Books, 5 Picture Books to Share with Your Kids, 8 Fantastic Books to Read Aloud with your Children and 17 Rib-Tickling Reads

Try wordless picture books

There are lots of books with few or no words that you could explore. Check out our list of wordless picture books and our tips of sharing them here.

Be imaginative

Make up your own stories or extend a story that you’re sharing. When your son’s a wee bit older, he can make up stories too. Although this can be a bit daunting at first, it’s lots of fun and your son won’t be judging you!

Be the listener

When your son is a bit older and starting to show an interest in longer stories, you could get him to read bits to you, rather than you doing all the hard work.

Seek support

Take advantage of the free reading and literacy support available through the Big Plus and other local programmes.

I hope these are useful. Let us know how you get on and if you’d like any more advice.