I read a book about a year ago entitled The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma. The book was based on a promise Alice and her father made - to read for at least 15 minutes together everyday. So up until college and distance made the promise too difficult to keep, Alice and her father made time for him to read aloud to her every single day (You can read more about here story here: http://makeareadingpromise.com). Reading aloud is an important and beneficial activity that sometimes is pushed aside in favor of other activities or simply because of busyness. Reading aloud is even beneficial for older children and even teens!
According to the American Library Association (ALA) website (http://www.ala.org/aasl/aboutaasl/aaslcommunity/quicklinks/el/elread), reading aloud to children includes these many benefits:
- Children's self esteem grows as they experience the security of having a parent or other caring person read aloud with them.
- Children experience increased communication with parents and other family members.
- Children are introduced to new concepts such as colors, shapes, numbers, and alphabet, in a fun, age appropriate way.
- Children build listening skills, vocabulary, memory, and language skills.
- Children develop imagination and creativity.
- Children learn information about the world around them.
- Children develop individual interests in special subjects like dinosaurs, cats, or cars.
- Children learn positive behavior patterns and social values.
- Children learn positive attitudes towards themselves and others.
- CHILDREN LEARN THE JOY OF READING!
A huge benefit of reading aloud according to Jim Trelease, author of Read Aloud Handbooks, is the impact that reading books has on a child's vocabulary. According to Jim, "It's long established in science and research: the child who comes to school with a large vocabulary does better than the child who comes to school with little familiarity with words and a low vocabulary" (http://www.greatschools.org/students/7104-read-aloud-to-children.gs). In his interview, Trelease is specifically referring to younger children and readying them for school, but as a professor working with college students I can verify that those who are readers are those who do better overall. Reading and reading aloud is beneficial to all ages and a large vocabulary is helpful for college students as well as those just starting out. Reading also increases attention span, encourages a child to "experience" difficult situations, and broadens knowledge of the world and people. Every day I begin my classes (college students, mind you) by reading a selection from a novel, a poem, or a great speech. I find that if I can whet their appetite for reading and books, then I can whet their appetite for learning in general. If I can create life-long learners - readers - I have done my job.
I also read aloud with my kids at home and even my husband! Right now my husband and I are reading through The Great Gatsby in anticipation of getting the recently released movie. Through the years I have found some read aloud favorites, books that seem to have been written for reading aloud. The language is mesmerizing and the characters memorial. Poems are also great for read aloud because of their structure and language. So, that being said, I am going to leave you with a few of my favorite read alouds, what books would you add to the list?
- The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
- Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
- The Wizard of Oz (and all of the other Oz books!) by L. Frank Baum
- Poems of Robert Frost
- Poems of Emily Dickinson