Just how important is reading aloud to children?

mother reading to her baby girl

Parents and educators recognize the importance of reading to children. But how important is it really? An extensive study done by the U.S. Department of Education determined that “children who were read to at least three times a week had a significantly greater phonemic awareness when they entered kindergarten than did children who were read to less often and they were twice as likely to score in the top 25 percent in reading”.

It is also known that one of the best predictors of early reading success is phonemic awareness. This is powerful information for stressing the importance of reading aloud to children.

There are reading strategies and knowledge, oral vocabulary development, and communications skills that are cultivated in children that listen to stories.

In order to optimize learning and motivation for reading it is important to practice reading aloud to children. Listed below are some of the valuable benefits this instruction offers children.

Read Aloud Research

  • This highly informative document provides further research and guidelines for read aloud. It also recommends a list of read aloud books to use with children.
  • It builds listening skills and increases children’s attention span as they learn to concentrate at length to stories.
  • It exposes children to the specific elements of book language which is different from spoken language. They become familiar with text structure and new vocabulary.
  • It expands children’s schema for things they know. Reading books opens up a child’s world giving them opportunity to learn information.
  • It contributes to their practice at asking questions and developing opinions about the stories they read.
  • Listening to stories read aloud has a direct impact on children’s reading and writing.
  • Exploring a variety of text types introduces children to the different purposes for reading and writing i.e. fiction to entertain and non-fiction to inform.
  • It provides a model for children and motivates them to become readers and lifelong learners.

Tips for Read Aloud

It is never too early or late to read to children. Reading should start at birth and continue on long after children are able to read on their own.

Infant benefits from listening to the rhythmic sounds and voice intonations of a story being read. Older children benefit from the complex thinking and learning that occurs when they listen to texts that are slightly more difficult…
Continue reading the article and learn more about reading to children on Daisy Linden’s blog.

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