When I sit and think about some of my favorite memories as a child, I always come back to times that I was read to.
I remember snuggling up on my mom’s lap or comfortably in bed beside her as she read to me. I remember sitting patiently on the carpet in kindergarten, hanging on my teacher’s every word.
We all know the value of reading aloud to small children.
Reading Aloud To Older Kids Is Crucial! Here’s Why…
As our children grow past first or second grade, however, we often abandon reading aloud to them.
This is such a shame and a lost opportunity!
Yes, by about third grade, we want children to be independently reading. However, there is so much power in continuing to read to them.
Here are some key reasons why you should continue reading to your child as they grow older.
1: To Build Reading Fluency
As kids listen to stories being read aloud, they hear good modeling of reading fluency.
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Reading fluency is not just reading fast, but it is reading with expression and understanding. It is knowing when to pause for a breath, and when to add excitement to the sentence.
It is the bridge to comprehension. Many children when first learning to read, read in a monotone voice and do not know how to add expression. This has to be taught and modeled.
2: To Expand Vocabulary
As our children grow and learn, their vocabulary is ever expanding. The more they read and are read to, the more words they will learn and understand.
They will be able to apply these new vocabulary words across context–in their daily conversations, school work, and other readings.
3: To Expose To Different Types And More Challenging Text
When a child is reading independently, they are only able to read and understand text at their reading level.
In order to expose them to more challenging text and higher concepts, they need to be read to. Often, they will be able to understand these concepts and the text if it is read aloud and they do not have to focus on decoding it.
Often they are having to devote so much time to decoding (or sounding out) words, that their comprehension suffers when the text is difficult.
If they do not have to devote as much cognitive ability in decoding words, and can simply focus on understanding the text, they will be able to comprehend much better.
4: To Promote Social And Emotional Health
Often, when we read novels and stories, we are learning about how other people deal with situations. We develop empathy by identifying with the characters in the stories.
Our children need that as well. By reading together, you can help your child understand these situations and also have time to discuss feelings and ways to deal with problems that they may have that are similar to the characters in the stories.
This can really be a great way of addressing and dealing with tough issues that our older kids have.
Let’s face it… Middle school and high school are not easy! Our kids need help navigating life through these milestones. Read aloud can help!
5: To Create Memories And Life-Long Readers
Lastly, this can be an incredible bonding experience for your child and really help them learn to love reading!
Please consider continuing to read to your child past the younger years. You will find so much treasure in these moments!
Recently, my 12-year-old daughter and I enjoyed reading aloud Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This is a wonderful story was an incredible experience for us both!
Do you have a favorite book that you enjoy reading aloud to your “big kids?” If so, please share them below!