Throughout my teacher education classes, I heard it repeated many times, read aloud to your students. Now as a parent, I keep hearing about the importance of reading aloud to my own children. We take time to do this everyday, and I wanted to share the many benefits I've seen from this simple activity.
1. My number one favorite thing about reading aloud is snuggle time! Your child will want to sit on your lap or as close to you as possible, even after the pictures have disappeared!
2. You will be increasing your child's vocabulary without worksheets. When you come across a difficult word, stop and ask your child what he/she thinks it means. Give clues from the sentence or picture. Then discuss the meaning. Before you know it, your child will be using that word in his/her everyday conversations!
3. Reading comprehension will soar. Last year when Luke was in second grade, when read the entire set of The Chronicles of Narnia. Now he could not have read them independently, but his comprehension was amazing. He would stop me and discuss connections between the characters and their interactions with one another. He actually quoted Bible verses to me, and told me how those verses related to events in the books. This was all without my prompting or questioning. If your child does not ask questions, stop and discuss the book often. Ask them about events, character traits, what he/she would have done in the same situations, etc.
4. Since we have read aloud to our children since birth, they love reading, and they love learning. Reading is not an assigned activity at our house, but it is something the kids enjoy and choose to do. Visiting the library is exciting for us, and buying new books is a treat!
In the past year we have been reading more chapter books to Luke. We have covered the Chronicles of Narnia, some of the Little House on the Prairie books, and now we are reading several Beverly Cleary books. We also read hundreds of pictures books. Don't stop reading picture books as your child gets older. Many picture books are actually written for the upper elementary through middle school audience. These books can be read quickly and then discussed. Some of our favorites include Max Lucado's children's books such as If I Only Had a Green Nose. Don't forget the nonfiction and poetry books too. Follow your child's interest in selecting these.
Do you have any tips for reading aloud to your children or students?