Reading aloud is likely a cornerstone to your teaching when it comes to little learners, but do you keep it up after they’ve mastered reading on their own? You definitely should! The value and benefits of reading aloud is well supported by research – and not just for younger kids. However, there tends to be a drop off in reading aloud as kids get older. Scholastic’s Kids & Family Reading Report showed that while 60% of parents believed that it was still important to read aloud to their 9-11 year-old, only 21% of parents regularly do.
Here are five reasons why you should keep reading aloud, even when your kids can read on their own.
It builds vocabulary.
Children learn new words by being exposed to them. Reading aloud is a great way to expand your child’s vocabulary. A student who is read to for 20 minutes a day will hear almost 2 million words in the course of the year from the experience. Not only will they be learning new words, but they’ll be hearing them in context, which is one of the best ways to effectively retain knowledge.
They can enjoy the story.
There’s nothing like a good story. Being read to can allow your child to relax and enjoy the read. Not having to put the effort into reading the text gives your child the freedom to let the imagination take over and visual the worlds, characters and words in a way that they might find challenging as a still-developing reader.
Exposure to more advanced materials.
A child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to their listening level until 8th grade. Reading aloud provides an opportunity to expose your kids to information or stories that they might be able to understand, but would struggle to read on their own.
A model of fluent reading.
When you read aloud, you are showing your kids all of those grammar rules you’re likely teaching in actions. Your voice raises when you ask a question. You stop briefly after a period instead of rushing right into the next sentence.
Strengthens comprehension skills.
Follow up read aloud with some questions either as a formal assignment or a casual conversation. What was the story about? Why do you think that character acted that way? What do you think X part means? Use read aloud as a tool to build comprehension and develop critical thinking skills.