As a parent, I regularly read stories aloud to my own children. I never really stopped. They are now 24 and 27 years old, respectively. I am still reading aloud to them in various ways, though not necessarily books. For my daughter, I read aloud her graduate school papers and help her edit, only if she asks me. For my son, I am reading aloud various online items related to his job search.
Maybe I held back some on reading aloud to them during the quirky middle school years, but I remember vividly reading to my son in high school when he undertook a challenging English class. After my reading a selection, complete with an accent, I heard my teenage son reply rather loudly, “Now, I get it!” Hearing the selection read aloud, complete with my exaggerated accent, can’t recall if it was a British accent or an American cowboy accent, my son came away with a better understanding of this piece of literature. Isn’t that the goal overall - reading for understanding? My daughter, a teacher in Virginia, loves to read aloud to her students. She practices reading aloud new selections with me as the audience when she visits home. Ah, the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree!
Sometimes, when we realize how wonderful it is when our child has learned to read independently, and we have so waited for that day, we parents cut back on reading aloud to our children. Wrong! Keep on improving your child’s literacy skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening through the use of “read alouds” at home. Students gain in growth and understanding of language patterns and vocabulary, which is huge!
I leave you with an excerpt from an expert on reading aloud to children, Jim Trelease, from his book, The Read Aloud Handbook. This book contains wonderful information about the benefits of reading aloud to your child, as well as providing suggestions for great read alouds for children of any age. You can also find lists of books to read aloud on the Internet.
"Reading aloud is a commercial for reading. ...Think of it this way: McDonald's doesn't stop advertising just because the vast majority of Americans know about its restaurants. Each year it spends more money on ads to remind people how good its products taste. Don't cut your reading advertising budget as children grow older." ~ Jim Trelease
In the classroom, I am an avid “read aloud” teacher, but that’s another story for another blog on another day. Happy Reading Aloud, Parents!