We get so excited when our child first learns how to read, but does that mean our read aloud time together has to end? Definitely not! There are so many benefits to reading aloud to your kids – even the older ones!
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My twelve year-old daughter loves to read and will literally spend all day reading if I let her. My eight year-old son on the other hand, is not as big of a fan of reading as his sister is! And even though he is a great reader, he doesn’t like reading on his own most days. However, he really likes when I read books aloud to him, and my daughter still enjoys it as well.
Since we homeschool, there are several times throughout the day where I read books to both of my children. We have figured out what time of the day works best for us and what we like to read. We read most of our science and history books together, as well as a Bible story, devotional, and a chapter or two of a “just for fun” book. Not only do we all enjoy this part of the day, but reading aloud also has many other benefits.
Strengthens Your Bond:
We make it a point to do some kind of read aloud each day because it’s the perfect chance to spend quality time together. Life can get busy, but I try really hard to make sure that we are reading together everyday. It helps give a sense of consistency and it creates positive memories, even when everything else around us may seem crazy.
Works on Different Areas of Learning:
We all know that reading is good for children, and when they are being read to, they are working on lots of other important areas of learning too. It enhances their language skills as well as their listening skills. They are hearing new words and listening to how they are pronounced and being used correctly in different contexts, helping them to build their vocabulary.
This can be especially helpful if you are reading a difficult book, or one where the topic may need more explanation in order for them to understand. I have found this to be true for us when we are reading some of our school books. By reading the book aloud to my kids I can stop and go over the parts that they are confused by, whereas had they been reading those books on their own, they probably would not have stopped to figure it out or ask questions.
Good for Struggling Readers:
Reading aloud can be especially beneficial to a child who is having a hard time reading, or who is reluctant to read on their own. There is no pressure on them to do the reading themselves, so they are free to simply enjoy what they are hearing. This helps them to develop a better appreciation for books because it makes reading more fun and less intimidating.
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Reading aloud to my children is something they both enjoy, so we will continue doing it for as long as they’d like. I’m not sure how much longer my daughter will want to have me read to her, so I am taking advantage of it while I still can! I love the time that we get to spend together and I appreciate that I can read the same book to both of my kids at the same time, even though they are different ages.
And if you are having a hard time deciding on what books to read together, or if you are like us and have read through most of the books you own, check out your local library! A trip to the library not only helps you find new read-aloud books, but it also gives you a chance to take a fun (and free) field trip! For a helpful list of public libraries in the United States, go to librarytechnology.org.
I personally enjoy reading and I hope that by taking the time each day to read aloud to them, I can instill that same love of books in my children. So, if you don’t already read aloud with your children, maybe give it a try one day and see how they (and you) like it. You may even find that it becomes one of your favorite things to do together!