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Why Should I Read Aloud?

Leah Courtney
Last week I introduced a series that I'm going to be doing throughout 2015 here on the blog. I'm going to be sharing my love of reading aloud with informative posts, book talks, printables, and more. Each week on Wednesday, we'll be having Read Aloud Wednesdays on the blog. I'd love for you to link up any posts you've written lately about reading aloud or about books and resources for reading aloud. You can find all these details and a button to use on the introduction post here.

This week I'm going to be sharing some of the benefits I've found for reading aloud throughout my years of teaching in traditional school and my years of homeschooling my own children. Sometimes reading aloud is just viewed as an if I have time sort of activity. But there are so many great benefits to reading aloud that I hope you'll see the importance of making it a regular activity. I've found that reading aloud with all of my kids- even my teenagers- has many benefits.

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Reading aloud can benefit your children in many academic ways. There are many things that can be learned in an indirect way as children listen to good, quality stories.

Academic Benefits:

  • Increased comprehension- Hearing books read above their reading level helps children to gain an increased comprehension. When they can read more difficult books they'll have a framework of sorts to help them understand because they are accustomed to hearing the more difficult books read to them. It can also increase comprehension as you stop to take time to discuss the book when you read. If you are taking time to define some difficult words or talk about situations in the book, the child is going to know that for next time or for independent reading.
  • Appreciation for good books- There are so many books out there that aren't really quality books, books that are "twaddle" as Charlotte Mason would say. When you are reading quality books to your children from the time they are small, they develop an appreciation for that kind of literature. Then when they begin to choose the books they read, they are going to choose those books.
  • A good knowledge of good grammar- When a child is constantly hearing good writing being read aloud to them, they develop a sense of sentence structure and the correct flow of writing. Learning grammar rules in isolation often means that they are just forgotten after the page in the workbook is through. But when a child "picks up" good grammar from always listening to good writing, he is more likely to use that grammar in his speech and writing.
  • Good writing skills- Along with a good knowledge of grammar, listening to good writing being read aloud helps a child develop good writing skills. Like teaching the grammar skills in isolation, you can try to teach a child writing skills in isolation. But modeling good writing by having a child listen to the flow, the word usage, the structure of a well-written story helps the child to understand what good writing sounds like.
  • A large vocabulary- When you are reading aloud, children will pick up unfamiliar words. Sometimes it may be worth interrupting the story to define a word. But even if you can't stop and give a definition right then, the child will pick up words in context as he listens to a good story. And even if he isn't given an exact definition he'll begin to understand the word so that he recognizes it in the future. Having a large vocabulary can help a child be a good speaker as well as a good writer.
Besides the great academic benefits of reading aloud, there are many great relational benefits as you read aloud as a family.

Relational Benefits:

  • Time as a family-Reading aloud gives time as family when everyone is focused on the same book and not in their own world of electronic devices or other activity. Often family members are focused on their own pursuits, but when you all sit down together and listen to a good story, the whole family is enjoying time together.
  • Great discussions- Like some of the academic lessons to be learned from reading aloud, moral, spiritual, and emotional lessons can be learned also. We've often had some great discussions come up when we were discussing situations in the story. And there have been things I wouldn't think of bringing up that have been brought up and we've had the chance to talk about.
  • Sibling bonding- I don't have to be the one to read aloud in my family. Sometimes an older child will read to younger ones. When this happens, siblings are having fun together, doing an activity that is going to bring them closer and give them a stronger relationship. It's hard to be constantly bickering with someone when you're doing a fun activity with them.
  • Family traditions- In so many ways, reading aloud has become tradition in our family. When you read at specific times of the day, read certain books aloud at specific times, have a designated place to read aloud, you are creating family traditions. My kids know we read aloud as a family. It's just something we do. It's a characteristic of our family. And kids love the fun and the security of those traditions, those special things that define your family because you always do them.
Reading aloud has so many benefits. It's worth making time for. It's worth the work of picking out books and making a plan and choosing to do that rather than something else. It's just worth it.

I hope I've convinced you of the importance of reading aloud. In the next few weeks we'll be looking at other topics like why reading aloud is also important for older kids and how to make time for reading aloud. We also have our book talk for The 13 Clocks by James Thurber coming up on the last Wednesday of this month.

Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

Leah Courtney is a homeschooling mom of four. She’s graduated two teens- one who’s a legal adult now! And she’s still homeschooling two middle schoolers. She loves all things book related, and in her- very rare- free time you can find her listening to audiobooks and coloring.


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