My mom got this one right.
Some of my earliest memories are of my mom reading aloud to me and my siblings. We would all gather around her—two leaning against her on the couch, and the third on the floor at her feet. I loved listening to my mother read aloud! She did it often, and even let us put off doing chores if we were reading a book. There was a strong culture of reading in our home.
But reading aloud isn’t just a source of great memories. Reading aloud to your child is one of the most important things you can do to promote his or her future reading ability. Whether you choose a book from your child’s bookshelf or one from your local library, sharing this special read-aloud time with your child will benefit him in numerous ways.
Why should you read aloud to your child?
There are six really great reasons why you should read aloud to your child. After reading these reasons, I’m hoping you’ll pick up a book and start reading aloud to your child on a regular basis.
Reading aloud to children creates a lifetime interest in reading.
If you start reading to your children while they are young, they will be much more likely to grow into the habit of reading. When they associate reading with good memories, they are more likely to persist in learning to read, even when they run into occasional roadblocks in the process of learning to read.
Reading to young children extends their attention spans.
Don’t overdo it at first. You might need to start with just ten minutes of read-aloud time, and gradually extend the time until your child is able to maintain full attention for longer periods of time. A longer attention span will help a child perform better both in school subjects and in real-life projects.
Reading aloud to children aids in language development.
As children listen to you read, they assimilate strong language skills. They pick up correct word pronunciation, word usage, and proper grammar. Their working vocabulary increases, and they internalize correct sentence structure. All these skills will eventually transfer to their own speaking and writing. Improper grammar will begin to sound wrong to them, and they will be more likely to choose good grammar when they communicate.
As you read aloud, the power of a child’s imagination is strengthened.
As children are read to, they visualize the book’s events in their minds. Through the pages of a book, children are able to experience events and situations that are outside of their own personal experiences. They can picture life in other parts of the world and in other cultures. Children who have been read to are usually more adept at creating stories from their own imaginations.
Reading aloud helps build a child’s comprehension.
As you read and discuss books together, your child increases his problem-solving abilities and gains insight into characters’ motives. Discussing a book as you read helps teach a child how to make good predictions. As you read aloud, you can fill in missing background information that helps a child better understand the book’s setting, historical background, and characters—details that might be missed if a child reads a book on his own.
Last, but certainly not least, read-aloud time is great one-on-one bonding time.
Reading aloud is a wonderful chance to share adventure, intrigue, and emotion—without having to leave your living room. And that is irreplaceable.
Here’s a wonderful new resource I’d like to share with you.
Do you already have a culture of reading in your household? Or do you need to get motivated to start reading to your kids?
Check out the Read-Aloud Revival! Podcast! Sarah MacKenzie has recently interviewed Jim Weiss (“Reading Aloud Imperfectly”), Andrew Pudewa (“Reading Aloud to Older Kids”), and Mystie Winckler (“For Parents Who Don’t Like to Read Aloud”). You may even want to subscribe to her podcast (I did!) or her quarterly newsletter.
I had the chance to join Sarah for a chat about the importance of reading aloud with a struggling reader. Sarah and I packed a lot into our 21-minute conversation, including suggestions for some of my very favorite books to read aloud with struggling learners.
So grab a cup of tea and join Sarah and me as we chat about the importance of reading aloud to your children. Then go grab a book and a comfy chair and spend some time reading together.
Marie Rippel, curriculum developer of the award-winning All About Reading and All About Spelling programs, is known for taking the struggle out of both teaching and learning. You can connect with Marie on Facebook and Twitter.