The Importance of Reading Aloud to Children
When our children are little, reading aloud to them is a must! Obviously, the child can't read for themselves - yet - and therefore it is up to US, the parent/guardian, to read to them. As children grow and their reading develops, we tend to stop reading aloud to them, since we figure they can read for themselves. Although we want our children to become independent readers, we must remember that reading aloud to our children has more than one benefit, no matter our child's age.
Pre-Readers - Birth & Up
- Reading aloud helps young children acquire early language skills. You might think a baby or toddler is too young, but the earlier the better! Reading aloud to young children helps them build vocabulary, helps their cognitive development, and helps build curiosity, motivation, and memory. (1)
- Reading aloud builds positive relationships with books and reading. They learn to love literature and most likely will become life-long readers. Plus, it creates a special bond between the grownup and child. (1)
- Reading aloud also builds a strong foundation for success in school. Children learn to be good listeners, which is a crucial skill to have when in school. Children will also be familiar with print and vocabulary. (1)
- Reading aloud helps children make sense of the world around them! They may not live on a farm, but you can read a book about living on a farm or other places around the world. Reading books about characters with relatable problems helps them learn how to deal with the same issues. With books, the possibilities are endless! (2)
- Reading aloud to children stretches their mind! A pre-reader may not be able to read a "chapter" book, but they can still comprehend and enjoy the story. When grownups read books aloud to children, it opens up their minds to a whole world of adventures! (2)
Reach Out & Read: Importance of Reading Aloud (1)
Teaching with Children's Books: The Importance of Reading Everyday (2)
Did you know only 17% of children ages 9-11 are read aloud to by a grownup? Independent readers still enjoy being read to even though they may be reading fine on their own. For most children, having a parent read aloud to them is about the bond they feel during reading. Reading aloud to children establishes and maintains special relationships and gives them positive attention they need. (3)
- Reading aloud helps your child enjoy the story! Young readers can enjoy the story being read aloud to them without worrying about the act of reading. They don't have to worry about words they may not know or other reading struggles they may have. They learn to love the story! This helps them learn to love literature and become life-long readers. (3)
- Grownups model reading when they read aloud to their child. When a parent reads to their child, they can model the act of reading - reading with expression, pausing at commas, and stopping at periods. Model what to do when you don't know a word. Your child is watching... and learning to become a fluent reader. (3)
- Reading aloud expands vocabulary. For children, their auditory comprehension is higher than their reading comprehension. When a parent reads a book that might otherwise be challenging for their independent reader, they are exposing their child to a wealth of new words. (3)
- Reading aloud exposes your child to new authors, book series, and genres. They might fall in love with that kind of book and read more on their own. (3)
- Reading aloud builds empathy and awareness. Reading books about particular issues helps children understand something they may not normally experience on their own. It helps build awareness of the world around them. (3)
- Reading aloud builds life-long readers! Children that are exposed to reading and literature at an early age will do better in school, and they will develop the love of reading and continue to read on their own into their adult life. (3)
Brightly: The Importance of Reading Aloud to Big Kids (3)
Model Reading to Your Child!
When children see their parents, or other adults, reading in the household, they observe that reading is not something you HAVE to do to get your "required minutes for school", but that reading can be enjoyable. Children will learn that reading is fun. Make reading a family affair!