The Art of Skipping Pages

Why you shouldn't feel guilty about skipping pages while reading to your child, and how to get away with it.Realizing
you can skip pages or parts of pages when you read aloud to your little kids is
liberating, even if you do feel a little deceitful about it.  There’s really no reason to feel guilty.
In our
house, we did plenty of book shortening until the kids got old enough to catch
on to us. 
My husband perfected the art of reading only the first sentence of
every paragraph in longer picture books. I would surreptitiously turn two pages
at once in repetitive, stories like Green Eggs and Ham.
I know — blasphemy!

Your Sanity
If skipping
pages saves your sanity, then please, stay sane for the sake of your kids. If passing
over a paragraph (or five) lets you to finish a bedtime story by lights-out
time, then everyone wins.
Scaffolding helps kids understand what would otherwise be too difficultScaffolding
By condensing
books, you can adapt a more challenging story down to your child’s level.  Once they comprehend the story line, you can read the original version. You’re not cheating; you’re providing scaffolding to

Making Books Appropriate

You may also
want to change words and skip undesirable sections of read-aloud chapter books.
That’s okay too!
Whether you
are fixing an ugly racial stereotype in a classic, otherwise great book, or
altering a scary part of a book you’re reading at bedtime, you are doing what’s
best for your kid.
When they
get a bit older, you can confess your sins and have a meaningful discussion
with your child about race or scary books, or whatever else your objection was.
Wiggly Toddlers
I recently
read on A
Mother Far From Home
another great reason for skipping pages – making
stories shorter for little ones who can’t sit still long. The article has even more
wise and practical suggestions for reading to high energy kids – definitely
worth your time to read.
It's okay to skip pages when reading to wiggly toddlers

Highlights Only
It's okay to read only the highlights to your kids sometimesIf you’re
going to read just the highlights, it works best on books you’ve already read
aloud enough times that your child can mentally fill in the details, but not so
many times that they have the entire text memorized.
Reading just
the first sentence in each paragraph often gets the point across pretty well.
Try it!
Skipping Pages
entire pages doesn’t work on every page, or even every book. You have to use a
little judgment on a story you already know well.
You also
have to practice deftly turning two pages instead of one, an easier skill with
board book pages than paper ones.
After kids catch you skipping pages, they may pay more careful attentionGetting Caught
If you get
caught, pretend you made an innocent mistake. I won’t tell.
The side
benefit? Your child, after catching your “mistakes” a few times,
will pay more active attention to help you read correctly. Yes, that means it
will be harder to get away with your devious tricks, but you don’t want it to
last forever anyway.
Soon it’ll be time to introduce bookmarks!


  1. Lovely post, Heather! When I read to my three-year-old, I skip pages, paragraphs, and words for ALL of the reasons you described in this post!

  2. I love this! I'm a grandma and I "story shorten" all the time! I do it when I am presented with a book that's tedious, yet it's only the top one in a tall stack I've been presented with! So far, I just "condense," but I like the idea of plain old skipping, too!

  3. It is so funny when we get caught in this. My boys feel so offended. But it is great to know that their reading skills are getting good enough to realise we are skipping bits.

  4. I love this too! I used to feel I had to read everything, but you're right, it's liberating to skip and can make it more interesting for my toddler. Great ideas! Thanks for linking up at the Manic Mondays blog hop!

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