Kids love to be read to. Is it because they love to hear the books being read? Is it because they love snuggling with the reader? Is it because they love to hear the reader’s voice? I think it’s all of this and more. That’s why I started reading to my oldest when I was still pregnant with him. When I was pregnant, my husband worked at a local restaurant in the evenings. While he was at work, I would sit in my rocking chair and read Winnie-the-Pooh books to my belly. I would read our children’s story Bible. I am an avid reader, and I was hoping to pass that love of books on to my child. I had no idea that reading was so much more than that.
Why read aloud every day?
Little ones love to snuggle. What better “excuse” to snuggle than to read “just one more.” I love snuggling as much as my kids do. So I loved curling up with them to read a good book. We had favorites that I read over and over again. But, we loved trying new books, too. Every night, we would snuggle up in their beds and read a picture book – or three or four. As they got older, we moved on to chapter books, and we would read a chapter or two each night. I don’t know if they liked the books or the cuddles the best, but it didn’t matter to me.
Making Sense of the World Around Them
One interesting thing about books is that they help children make sense of the world around them. We don’t live on a farm, but we could learn about farming by reading books like Charlotte’s Web. We will probably never get up close and personal with animals from the Amazon jungle, but we can read about them in books. Historical fiction allows the reader to “time travel” in a sense to learn about life in different times. Books can help children learn to deal with difficult situations such as death and divorce. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is a book full of funny stories that sneak in a bit of character training.
Children can increase their vocabulary by leaps and bounds by listening to stories that we read. When we talk, our vocabulary is generally pretty basic. But, when we read, we open up a whole new world of words that children may not hear in their everyday conversations.
Stretching Their Little Minds
Children are able to comprehend at a higher level than they can read. This means, that while a first grader may be unable to read Charlotte’s Web on their own, they can certainly understand the story being told as it is read aloud to them. By reading aloud to children, we are opening them up to a whole new level of books that they may have to wait years to read on their own.
Don’t Stop Once They Can Read
As I said, I have been reading aloud since my oldest was still in my tummy. Today, I still read aloud to my daughter – now 6th grade. She doesn’t enjoy us reading to her at bedtime anymore – that’s her time to read books of her own choice . However, I still have at least two or more read-alouds going during our school days. She looks forward to our read-aloud times, and asks for them if I forget. Sure, she can read the books on her own. But, it’s a special time that we have carved out in our days.
Do you read aloud? What are you reading aloud right now?