You’ve heard reading aloud is critical to your child’s success and you strive to get it in most nights when you can. Sometimes, though, it’s just hard to put in the time. You work long hours, you’re tired, homework went on forever or after-school activities ended late and you just want to skip a read aloud tonight. For all the many reasons why that seems like a good idea, here are 5 solid reasons in favor of reading aloud consistently for (just 10 minutes!) when you need a little motivation.
5 great reasons to read aloud to your child:
Modeling fluency skills: Children need to hear adult, skilled readers model what good fluency sounds like when they read aloud so they can copy that sound. A reader is fluent when the words flow together well, and they are not choppy or slow. The more you can model how the words should flow well together when you read (as well as stopping at periods, pausing at commas, and obeying the other punctuation marks too) the better your child will pick up this skill. Modeling language and vocabulary: books are amazing for increasing children’s understanding of language and learning new vocabulary words. Even simple children’s books often have rich vocabulary that is not in our everyday conversation and therefore children do not hear it. In order to know a word, it needs to be used, in context (in the story) and so read alouds are the perfect way to share new words with children. Sharing quality time together: In the craziness that is life these days, we often don’t have more than 10 minutes a day of quality time to spend with family members. Reading books aloud together creates this time and allows us to be in the moment with our children, enjoying their company as well as a good story and it also builds memories that will last a long time. Make a statement: “We value reading.” When we do it together every day, we are telling our children that reading is important in our home, and it’s a habit that is a part of our lives. When we skip days, or find too often that we allow other excuses to take the place of reading time, we are sending our children the message that reading takes a back seat to those distractions and that message is powerful. Relaxation: Reading is a relaxing activity. By choosing to read aloud at night before bed, we are winding down each day in a relaxing way in a way that screens such as cell phones and iPads don’t allow for.
“Where can I find time to read with my child?” If you are wondering this too, read Finding Hidden Time for Reading.
Monica, mom to 11 year old Zane, says this about their read aloud practice, “It’s often very easy to slip into a million reasons why we can’t make time at night to read a book together. Once we started allowing ourselves to be distracted, it just got even easier. However, we knew that was not going to help Zane with reading so we promised each other that reading aloud would come first. Since we made it a top priority, we don’t let each other miss our nightly story and Zane’s teacher has told us that his reading has improved in school.”
If you’re finding it hard to get in the time, strive for just 10 minutes a night. This is enough time for a short picture book, or chapter in a simple chapter book, and will ensure you don’t let distractions get in the way of this time together. Then on nights that are less busy, work towards reading for 30 minutes together. I promise it will be one of the best ways you can spend time as a family.
Check out where you can find pockets of time in your day to read with your child: Finding Hidden Time for Reading.