Lee and Low Books is the largest multicultural children's book publisher in the United States. From our start over 25 years ago, our mission has been to publish contemporary diverse stories that all children can enjoy. (Find our books, resources and more at LeeAndLow.com.)
Read-alouds serve many purposes: to engage with children, have fun, learn about something new, connect with a character, and/or as vehicles for conversations about race and other issues that require careful thought and consideration. I work with a lot of educators and the same skills that teachers use in the classroom can be replicated at home. Books have the power to initiate powerful and purposeful conversation between caregivers and children, particularly when engaging with sensitive content. Listed below are tips for caregivers and parents on how to read aloud to children at home when reading books that present possible tough topics.
Go through each page carefully, paying attention to the text and illustration. What do you notice? What do you think the child will observe or ask as you’re reading?
Some books can simply be for fun! Others have a message
that you want to convey. What’s your objective?
For example, if the book addresses empathy, consider pausing at a pivotal moment and ask the child how the character is feeling in that situation and explain his or her thinking.
This can encourage discussion about the author’s message, characters’ intentions, or something new that was learned. For example, you can ask, “how did this character show that she cared for others?” to circle back to the theme of empathy.