8 Compelling Reasons to Read Aloud to Kids of Every Age (and how to make it happen!)
“Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Read me a story!”
Do those words sound familiar? If you’ve got little ones at home, they probably do.
Kids enjoy being read to – and for good reason! Reading to kids creates special memories and offers them a chance to explore new worlds all while cozied up on the couch with the grown-ups they love.
There are so many reasons to read aloud to kids of every age. Here are our top 8!
8 Compelling Reasons to Read Aloud with Kids of Every Age
1. Boosts language development
Don’t shy away from reading harder books. Kids can often listen and comprehend stories at a much higher level than they can read on their own.
This exposes them to longer sentences, words they’ve never heard, and more complex storylines. Hearing you read aloud offers lessons in pronunciation, intonation, pacing, and tone. Consistently reading to your kids is a great way to boost language skills while spending quality time together.
2. Increases attention span
Listening is a learned skill. And frankly, it’s hard, especially for kids who are younger or have ADHD. Reading aloud is a great way to practice.
Start with shorter stories and gradually work your way up to longer ones. Be patient and celebrate progress.
3. Builds social-emotional skills
Reading together is a wonderful way to practice social-emotional learning in a safe environment. When a favorite character faces a challenge, be sure to talk it through with your kids. Ask them questions.
What went wrong? What went right? How could it have been handled differently or better?
By doing this you are helping them build crucial critical thinking skills while setting them up for social success.
4. Creates a lifelong love of reading
There’s nothing like the simple pleasure of getting lost in a good story. Share this joy with your kids by making read-aloud time a priority in your home.
They (and you) will treasure the time together and memories made.
5. Screen-free entertainment
We all love technology, but too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing. Screens are everywhere and their pull is undeniable.
Reading together allows you to take a break from screens while still having fun. Plus, books can be carried in your purse, bag, or car and pulled out whenever you and the kids are bored. Sometimes low-tech IS the way to go.
6. Helps struggling learners
No matter what subject your child is having trouble with, reading an engaging book together offers you and your child a one-on-one opportunity to tackle the material from a new angle.
Sometimes a change of pace is all you need to succeed.
7. Encourages diversity and cultural awareness
We may be socially distancing, but it’s absolutely possible to broaden your child’s world from the safety of home.
When pulling together reading material, be sure to choose thought-provoking books that feature diverse characters and showcase different cultures. Encourage questions. Start the conversation.
This is how we raise compassionate children.
8. Pass down a family tradition
Kick it old-school and read the paper each morning at the breakfast table. Talk to your kids about current events.
Or pick books with corresponding movies and have a celebratory movie night – complete with pizza and popcorn – each time you finish a book.
Maybe you gather the whole family around the fire and read The Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve at bedtime.
Reading together offers you the opportunity to start new traditions your kids will cherish and maybe even pass on one day.
Practical Tips to Make it Happen
– Begin at birth (or before)
The sooner you begin reading to your kids, the sooner they (and you) will reap the rewards you see above. Reading together, no matter how small they are, creates special memories only the two of you will share.
– Slow and steady wins the face
Start small and make it a habit. Just a short book once a day is more than enough. You can always build up from there, but consistency is the key.
– Take a walk (a picture walk, that is)
This is especially important for younger readers. Take some time to look through the book before you start reading. Let them see the pictures. Ask them what they see and to guess what might happen. This allows them to put their thinking caps on and engage more fully with the story.
– Have great conversations
It’s okay to pause and ask questions, make remarks, and engage your kids in conversation. It’s exactly what you should be doing. We’re going for quality over quantity and good books lead to great conversations!
– Movement matters
Sitting still is hard. Encourage kids to keep their hands busy, if needed. Bring out crayons and paper, a new puzzle, or blocks to build with. This is also a great way to encourage fine motor strengthening for kids who struggle in that area.
– Try audiobooks
If you really dislike reading aloud or just need a break, there’s nothing wrong with adding audiobooks to your arsenal. Often these are wonderfully narrated and are great for quiet time, car rides, and even listening to around the dinner table. You can find many for free on the Libby app by signing up with your local library. If you want a bigger selection, you can always try Audible, Chirp, Scribd, or any number of other paid services.
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