Working together to help children learn and grow in a complex world
Feb. 5, 2020
The importance of reading aloud to your children
By Tracy McIlwain, 2nd Grade Teacher
Reading is one of my very favorite activities. I’ve not always liked reading; in fact, as a kid, I hated school, and reading was my worst subject.
Then, life changed. When I was in college, I took a children’s literature class. My teacher read aloud Alice in Wonderland. Wow, she made the characters come alive with her voice and expression. I wanted to read the whole thing myself and couldn’t put it down.
The written word is powerful and becomes magical when read aloud. Your children love to hear you read to them. Not only are you sharing the pleasure of reading together, you are encouraging a love of reading in a variety of ways:
Your children hear what reading should sound like in their heads as they learn to read to themselves. This encourages them to use visualization as a comprehension strategy.
When reading aloud, you also demonstrate the use of punctuation. Pausing at commas and periods allows them to hear the text making sense.
Learning to make sense of the text while reading is the purpose of reading. You’re developing a sense of reading for meaning rather than word calling.
And as I found as a college student, sharing a story aloud can be beneficial at any age. Don’t stop just because your children have learned to read by themselves. Older children can learn new vocabulary and how to decode meaning in context (among other skills), and you can gain entry points to talking with them about difficult or complex matters.
So pick up a book and read aloud. It doesn’t matter what you read together, just read. It’s a good thing!
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