By Michelle Luce
One of the best times I ever had as a teacher was reading aloud to my class. When I taught third grade we read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl among others. When teaching fifth, we read The Giver and Number the Stars both by Lois Lowry. And believe it or not, when I did a stint teaching high school English and literature, I read aloud sections of The Scarlet Letter, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Wuthering Heights to my 11th, 9th and 12th grade classes, respectively. The students thought my reading aloud to them helped them understand the context, brought out sub-plot and made the conflict more pronounced. I think they liked for me to read because they… dare I say it? They liked it.
It’s not really news that reading aloud to your children can give them a boost in the academic community. We can improve our children’s literacy skills, that includes reading, predicting, writing, speaking, and listening, by reading out loud to them.
And we can help them increase their vocabulary, too. Children can listen to stories well beyond their reading level and understand and enjoy them.
A Washington Times article, “BRYAN: Benefits of Reading Aloud” says that according to author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, Jim Trelease, reading aloud to children sends a pleasure message to the child’s brain.
Reading? Pleasurable? Imagine that.
The truth is, the benefits of enjoying reading are far reaching. “As Mr. Trlease succinctly puts it in his handbook, ‘Students who read the most, read the best, achieve the most, and stay in school the longest. Conversely, those who don’t read much, cannot get better at it.’”
Besides strengthening obvious literacy skills, reading aloud develops the child’s imagination, fosters curiosity, and increases attention span.
There is another benefit to reading out loud to your child. According to an article published by Current Issues in Education, reading aloud daily increases a students ability to maintain sustained silent reading. This skill – as any teacher can tell you — is critical in the world of academics. The study also indicated that not only were students able to sustain silent reading, but, they enjoyed reading more!
This one activity, reading aloud to your children, can help them in school like nothing else can. It’s like a scholastic vitamin.
Aside from that, imagine the thrill of curling up with your kids, and taking adventure together with Long John Silvers or through the wardrobe into Narnia.!
One last perk. It’s practically free. Get to the library. All it costs is the gas to get there. Get a book. And read.