Top Five Reasons to Read Aloud to Older Kids

Book_Spines

 

When my children were little, storytime was a high-ranking ritual on my Mommy List. I wanted to foster a love of reading in my children, so from the time they were babies until third grade, I always read a book to them before bedtime.

We want our kids to get excited about reading, and to gain the skills needed to read independently. We are proud when they start reading chapter books, and encourage them to read on their own.

After a hiatus of reading to my novel-loving daughter, we set out on The Story Road together. I revisited some of my childhood favourites with Teagan, then had fun discussing the topics that came up in the stories. Reading aloud to her was a rewarding experience for both of us.

Here are the top five reasons why parents should read to their middle-grade children:

5.     Older kids may not have a reading level that equals their listening level.

When GreatSchools.net Interviewed Jim Trelease, author of the Read-Aloud Handbook, he explained: “A child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to his listening level until eight grade. You can and should be reading seventh-grade books to fifth-grade kids. They’ll get excited about the plot and this will be a motivation to keep reading.”

4.    Kids learn new words and expressions that facilitate reading more challenging books.

In an article for Archives of Disease in Childhood, researchers show that “Reading aloud familiarises children with the language found in books and stimulates vocabulary growth… Children with greater vocabulary knowledge and understanding of spoken language tend to have less trouble with reading.”

3.    Most kids, the little and the big, associate books to a special, worthy experience. 

The evidence-based, non-profit organization www.reachoutandread.org promotes the “one-on-one attention from parents during reading aloud” time because it “encourages children to form a positive association with books and reading later in life.”

2.    Reading aloud offers both you and your kid a chance for closeness.

When reading together, parents take time off their busy schedules of work, meetings, and errands, while kids get to have down time away from school, activities, and computer screens. Both get to snuggle close and spend quality time together. When our kids grow up, we tend to give up a storytime routine. But according to SheKnows writer Abbi Perets, this tendency “means giving up a chance to end each day with some closeness and reassurance right when your child needs it most.”

1.    It’s fun!

Sometimes, kids aren’t interested in the books they read in school because they view them as work. Writer Shannan Younger reminds us that if kids “see a parent enjoying reading, the chances of them enjoying it too go up. Also, by reading aloud, parents can be great salesmen of both reading and particular books.”

So grab your middle grader, find a book, and get reading!

*** This article first appeared in SPINE Online Magazine.***

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6 thoughts on “Top Five Reasons to Read Aloud to Older Kids

  1. I love this! My son has never liked to read on his own, so, at age 11, I am still reading to him at night. I want him to get the benefits of reading without forcing him to read and making it a chore. We both love it, and I hope it continues for a long time to come!

    • Carole Besharah says:

      That’s awesome, Naomi! We’ll keep on reading together too. My daughter and I are enjoying it a lot. She reads at an advanced level in French (she attends school in Quebec… not much English taught in class, unfortunately), so I think this has given her English level a big boost. Cheers!

  2. Joelle Ethier says:

    Following your advice has been a lot of fun… Are You There God, it’s Me, Margaret was just as good this time around, and my daughter loved it. She is now devouring Blubber (on her own) and we will be starting Island of the Blue Dolphins together soon.

    • Carole Besharah says:

      Yay! That’s awesome. I loved Margaret this time around too. Thanks!

      As an adult, I am grateful for authors like Judy Blume who write about important topics. OH! She is coming out with a new book for adults in 2015! Add it to you TBR list!

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