“Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.”— Marilyn Jager Adams
Family plays a vital role in child’s reading success. Reading to a small child as soon as possible, after birth, helps in speech development, brain development and more important the bonding with the child which further helps in other developmental areas of a child. The best way to help the child discover the joy of reading is to read aloud.
Reading aloud leads them to become good readers and better listeners which helps them to become a better student in further learning years. Reading aloud helps in building a child’s vocabulary and language skills. It also helps them to gain the knowledge about the world around them. When you read aloud together, it becomes a special time to create the bond with your child and is also a great source of fun and adventure for him/her. It gives a chance to a child to explore the new words, their meanings, discover new places and cultures through stories, and above all helping a child to develop a life long habit of reading. The individual attention paid by parents during reading helps children in developing a positive outlook with books and reading.
It also helps children cope during the times of any stress. Reading aloud in the early years of growth gives exposure to the print knowledge and less frequently used words and ideas in daily life. It also helps to build the crucial listening skills in a child which is very essential in kindergarten school and the later stages of learning. According to Mem Fox there are three secrets of reading: “Being able to make the print mean something; understanding the language; and our own knowledge.”
Some tips to follow-
- Read aloud to your child everyday. Set aside a fixed time for reading to your child or Read as often as you and the child have time for. No matter the child is very young or grown up. It is beneficial in all the stages of life.
- Discuss with your child, what is being read to them. It is an important aspect which helps the child not only to learn to listen and read the new words, but also to understand the meaning of it.
- Begin with simple black and white illustrations and then bold colored pictures. It will arouse child’s curiosity and visual sense.
- Take the complexity level up as the child grows. For example start with simple picture books with some words on it then few sentences and then further few pictures and more text.
- For toddlers and infants, read the books with lots of repetitions and rhyming words.
- We must not forget that listening habit is not acquired overnight. It is built gradually with consistent practice.
- Let the child help you in turning the pages and also point the fingers on words and pictures as you read aloud.
- Keep on varying the subject matter (fiction/non fiction) and length of the reading.
- Always say the name of the author before beginning the book, no matter how many times you have already read the same book.
- Discuss the illustration on the cover of the book. It helps to set the mind set of child.
- Keep the child involved in reading as you proceed, by occasionally asking or discussing few related things of the story.
- Try to avoid long and descriptive paragraphs until the child is capable to handle his/her imagination and attention span.
- If the story is too long, find an interesting spot to stop and leave the audience (child) hanging. They’ll be curious till the next reading.
- Give some time, post reading, for discussing some points in story like fears, hopes, thoughts, discoveries, fun elements etc.
- Allow the child to deal with them through written, verbal, dramatic or singing expression. The discussion should not be turned into a quiz or questioning.
- Use various expressions and voice modulation while reading.
- Check the pace of reading according to the requirement. Do not be too fast or too slow.
- Read the book in advance so that you understand it beforehand and could explain the character or situation in a better way.
- Motivate the child to read the book herself (even if it just turning the pages or looking the pictures only). The child will learn to handle the books this way.
- Read aloud to your child with interest and enthusiasm as you would be setting an example by doing this to inculcate the love of books and reading in your child.
“Reading aloud to young children is not only one of the best activities to stimulate language and cognitive skills; it also builds motivation, curiosity, and memory.” Bardige,