Five Days of Reading Aloud
From Peter Rabbit to Little House on the Prairie to Anne of Green Gables…..one constant has remained in our home – Read Alouds. Fourteen years ago, our first child was born and I so desired for her to share with me the love of books. So I began to read to her. Weekly trips to the local library kept our basket full of books and we read. And read. And read some more.
Soon I was reading aloud books such as Little House or Charlotte’s Web as I tucked my two oldest into bed at night. Days, week, and months passed us by. Before I realized it, I was reading aloud The Little Princess at the lunch table with a baby in my arms and little ones asking for “just one more” chapter.
Today, I am still reading…and reading…and reading some more. My audience is a bit more diverse than all those years ago. There are now 8 children gathered around from 19-months to 14- years-old. There are days where we read chapter after chapter; days where we have more than one book in the read aloud pile; and days where if I read a chapter we call it success. What hasn’t changed is that they are still asking for “just one more.”
This week in Five Days of Reading Aloud, I want to share with you the love and benefits of reading aloud. If you don’t read aloud, I want to encourage you on why you should. If you once read aloud but don’t anymore, I want to inspire you to try it again. If you think your children are too old or too young, I want to challenge you that you are never too old or young to enjoy a good read aloud.
— Emilie Buchwald
Today I want to share with you Seven Reasons to Read Aloud to Your Children:
1 – Reading aloud creates relationships – Reading aloud brings the family together. Everyone gathers and shares in an experience, travels to distance lands and meets interesting people. It provides a source of memories and conversations for years to come. My daughter, Rebekah, still remembers when all the children were cuddle up in one room for the night and I read Smoky the Cowhorse by candlelight. It was by far one of my favorite read alouds. It was such a sweet time surrounded by the glow of the candle and sharing with my children as they settled in for the night.
2- Reading aloud encourages discussion – Through literature we can share with our children challenging and difficult situations. It allows us the opportunity to discuss different worldviews, character issues and life experiences in a safe and secure environment. While reading Strawberry Girl we discussed alcoholism. Miracle on Maple Hill lead us to discuss the effects that war can have on those who are called to fight. The Hundred Dresses caused us to take time to discuss bullying and treating everyone with love and kindness. As we see characters struggle and triumph, when a character dies, or when a character finds happiness, many teachable moments are provided.
3- Reading aloud builds vocabulary – Babies learn to talk long before they can write or read. In the same manner, children can learn and enjoy books that are above their reading level. Reading aloud books to your children introduces them to a wide range of vocabulary that becomes familiar to them. When they encounter those words later, it will not hinder them. New words will not be a deterrent. You will find that not only do they understand them, but they will use them in every day conversations.
4- Reading aloud produces readers – It never fails. The moment I finish a read aloud, I have children asking to read it on their own. When children experience wonderful and engaging stories read to them, they learn the joy of reading. They understand that not only can they experience great adventures but gain knowledge and understanding. Whether fiction or non-fiction, my children love books.
5- Reading aloud helps listening/comprehension skills – Ten minutes or ten chapters a day? No matter the time you spend, reading aloud helps children learn to sit and listen. The learn to focus their attention and not be distracted. No television, no video game, just listening as a story unfolds. Listening is a valuable skill to teach our children. Don’t stop at just reading. Have your child share what happened in the story and what he thinks will happen next.
6- Reading aloud sets an example – As you read, your children see your facial expressions. They hear the fluctuations in your voice. They can hear the excitement or sadness. Providing this example of communication is a great encouragement and help to your children. Whether they are reading aloud a book or presentation understanding how to effectively communicate is of great value.
7- Reading aloud inspires imagination – In our home we do not have an abundance of toys, we have no television or video games. We don’t need them. When my children are at play, their imaginations soar. They have journeyed to India, England and traveled across the United States. From railway cars to mighty ships, they have traveled around the world (in more than eighty days) and encountered people and creatures of all kinds. An afternoon of freedom is an opportunity to imagine. Reading aloud books has enabled their imaginations to thrive and they are never without an adventure.
Great reasons to grab a book, cuddle on the couch and spend an hour or two with your children!
What’s next for Five Days of Reading Aloud?
*How and When Do I Read Aloud?
* What Do I Read?
* When Mom Just Can’t Read Aloud
*Managing Different Ages and Stages
I hope that you will come back tomorrow! I love talking about books and reading aloud. Make sure you stop by and see what others are blogging about this week at Schoolhouse Review Crew.. So many good things!