by Patti Leary, Literacy Coach at Wing School
I am often asked the question, “When should I stop reading aloud to my child?” The quick answer is never! Children of all ages benefit from hearing you read to them. Some of the advantages are:
- It is enjoyable!
- It helps strengthen the parent-child bond.
- Children develop their vocabularies.
- Children develop their listening skills.
- Children expand their background knowledge.
- Children expand their knowledge of the world (places, diverse cultures, etc.)
- Children are “freed up” from the actual physical part of the reading thus given them the chance to think more deeply about the text.
- Children learn how to talk about books and learn from hearing another person’s perspective.
Some things that are helpful to think about:
- Choice and self-selection of books is a huge factor in engaging children’s interest …let them help in the selection.
- Often younger children will want to hear the same story over and over…this helps them develop their reading processes in a comfortable and familiar way.
- Share some of your childhood favorites and talk about why it was your favorite.
- Try and vary your choices (even if they aren’t your favorite genres). Children benefit from hearing poetry, fiction, informational text, magazines, articles, read aloud for modeling fluency and expression.
The most important thing is to make it relaxed and enjoyable. Developing a routine in your family for reading helps to foster a life-long love of reading.