Tips for Being a Guest Reader in Your Child’s Classroom

by Rosemary D'Urso

Photo credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Congrats, you are going to be a guest reader in your child’s classroom! While this is such an exciting opportunity to make a special memory with your child and their classmates, it can also feel a bit intimidating. Do not fear! I’m here to help guide you through having the best guest reading experience possible with a few tips and book recommendations packed with kid appeal!

1. Choose a book you feel comfortable with.
Picking one of your child’s favorites can be a great decision unless they love super silly books and that’s not your style. If you are not into doing funny voices and prefer something more low-key, don’t be afraid to try a nonfiction picture book or biography. Kids love learning about new facts!

2. Bring a back-up or two.
Depending on the amount of time you have to read and the length of the book, you may finish your book quickly and have time for another. Most students love a bonus book.

3. Preview the book first.
Reading through the story ahead of time will not only help you feel more comfortable and know when to pause for reactions, it will also help avoid any unwanted surprises.

4. Know some classroom management tools ahead of time.
If the students become excited and begin yelling out or talking loudly, speak in a softer voice, so that they have to quiet down to hear you. If another student comments that they have read the book before, encourage them to look for a new detail this time.

5. Read with expression.
No one wants to listen to a robot reading. Bring the story alive with your voice making sure to change your tone depending on what is happening in the story. If you feel comfortable, use different voices for the characters. The sillier the better.

6. Show the pictures.
This may seem obvious, but can also be overlooked in the moment. Seeing the illustrations are critical when reading a picture book, so it may be helpful to practice holding the book up and reading from it at home to ensure you feel at ease showing the pictures while reading aloud.

7. Have fun!
It is such a treat for your child to have you in their classroom. If you relax and have a good time, the students will too. All that really matters to your child is that you are there. Take a deep breath and enjoy the special moment.

As for book recommendations, below is a list of tried-and-true favorites that I’ve found to be big hits with children. With stories full of imagination, comical situations, or inspirational true tales, there is a little something here for everyone.