When it comes to reading and how parents can help their children learn to read, the way to do that is to: read, read, read.
Read to your children. Read with your children. Listen to your children read to you. Let your children see you reading. Talk about reading.
Make reading a family priority and…
Three Ways to Read Aloud
- Parent reads to child.
- Child reads to parent.
- Child and parent take turns reading together.
While You Read Together
- Allow spontaneous comments on events and characters in the story.
- Predict what might happen next and then discuss the results of your predictions.
- Share opinions, thoughts, ideas, connections, and questions about the book.
Reading Together With Your Child
- Helps build a foundation for a love of learning and questioning;
- Boost your child’s readiness for independent reading and writing;
- Can “wire a child’s brain to recognize patterns, sequences, and predict outcomes;”
- Helps develop vocabulary and the ability to decode words;
- Sharpens listening and conversation skills;
- Sparks the imagination;
- Expands a child’s knowledge of the world;
- Increases a child’s attention span;
- Allows you to grapple with difficult issues and creates empathy for others;
- Teaches life lessons;
- Builds a unique bond between you and your child;
- Doesn’t have to end when your child is able to independently read on their own
Reading Aloud to Older Children
Reading aloud often stops, or is greatly reduced, when a child learns to read on his own, and yet it shouldn’t.
In his book, The Read Aloud Handbook, author Jim Trelease has this to say about cutting back on read aloud time once children can read on their own:
“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.”
Trelease also shares information about how children have more advanced listening levels than they do independent reading levels until 8th grade:
“A child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to his listening level until eighth grade. A fifth-grader can enjoy [listening to] a more complicated plot than she can read herself, and reading aloud is really going to hook her.”
Additionally, Trelease states an additional advantage for parents to read aloud is that:
“If you weren’t a reader yourself growing up, reading to your kids gives you the chance to meet the child you used to be and read the books you never read. I hear from people all the time, especially fathers, who say, “Wow! I never read The Secret Garden as a child, and I had no idea what I was missing!”
Learn more about our LS Family Book Club experience.