We all know that reading and talking to our babies and children helps with their language development. We’ve seen or at least heard of all the research that has been done to prove that reading with our children can increase their vocabulary and cognitive abilities. What if I told you that there are even more benefits to reading aloud to your children than just what the researchers tell us?
While their research is valid, on point and very much needed there are so many more reasons why you should be reading aloud.
Reading aloud to your little one’s deepens the connection that you have with them. When you are deep into a story you get to experience it with your kids. You all are learning together, laughing together, in suspense together and more.
There is a deep connection when you get to watch your kids experience your own childhood heroes as you read and then discuss what’s going on in the story after you finally stop reading “just one more page.”
Shared experiences get us parents into our children’s sphere, into their world at their level. When you are in their world you have a better chance at winning their hearts for life.
Bouncing right off the above reason, you create a deeper connection while discussing what just happened in the story you’re reading or how you feel about what just happened or even predicting what they think will happen next. This is one of my favorite times of reading aloud time. Getting to hear how my children see the story, how they relate it to something that’s happened to them or how they feel about the characters or plot makes reading time come alive!
Example of Good Reading
Reading out loud to your children teaches them how good readers read. The pace to keep, the voice inflection to have for questions, exclamations, how to use a different voice for different characters or to show different feelings. They use your example when reading independently.
They then use your example when reading independently. This is an invaluable lesson that is hard to teach with a formal lesson but will enhance their own story reading and writing. This helps create that love for reading that we all want our children to have.
Expand their Vocabulary
Can I just say how funny it is when your 4-year-old repeats a sarcastic phrase, funny line or a big word in the correct context all because it’s been read to him aloud by a parent? It is fantastic!
Reading aloud opens up a whole new level of vocabulary to your children, especially if you read an older book or something above their reading level. When I do this I take a few seconds to define the word for them if it is new to them. Lo and behold they will use it in their own conversations later on that day or week or even weeks to come. I love it!
Expand their Horizons
What I mean by that is that they may not have pulled the book you chose off the library shelf. Maybe they believed or even believe that it won’t be a good book or what they like to read. But because you’ve decided to read it for read aloud time they have to listen to it. And find out that they really enjoyed it!
Or maybe you introduce them to a new author or genre that they didn’t think they’d like or that they didn’t know existed. You’re opening up their minds to other avenues, expanding their horizons. You’re also teaching them not to judge a book by its cover. A good lesson to learn.
Variety is the spice of life, isn’t it?
How does this look in our home?
I used to read aloud after I finished my Bible reading and prayer. I still had coffee left over in my cup so I would sit and read, sipping my coffee, while the kids played on the floor in front of me with their blocks, legos, cars, etc. They were still aloud to play nicely while I read a chapter or two. They would always beg for two! And yes, they do listen while they’re playing. When I felt like they weren’t I would stop reading and see if they noticed. They always would and would ask, “why aren’t you reading?!”.
But now that we are back to school we’ve turned our reading aloud time into a more formal morning time (LINK). To start our school day I read from our book, Bible reading and memory work and into songs, art and then calendar time. We then transition into school work. It’s the best time of our school day and the kids are excited to listen because they know we are going to be reading another chapter of our book.
There you have it, while reading aloud to your kids may seem like it isn’t that big of a deal I hope that the researcher’s opinions as well as the many others that I’ve pointed out will get you motivated to make reading aloud a priority in your home. Yes, it’s good for helping reading skills develop and language to flourish but you cannot deny the effect that it has on your relationship with your kids. We need more reasons to get into their world. I hope reading aloud opens up that door for your family.
Your turn! Do you read aloud to your kids? Have I convinced you to start? Let’s chat in the comments below!
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