Did you know that March was Read Aloud Month?
Whoop! April, Schmapril, ‘m going to make March a permanent month. [Except for that snow part.]
Reading aloud is so powerful. Whether you’re sharing a picture book with a toddler, partnering on that easy reader, or taking the lead to read that longer chapter book … what you are doing has a great impact on helping your child be a successful reader.
What makes reading out loud with our kids our superpower? I’m glad you asked!
Expands Their Vocabulary
Remember when your toddler said something in the grocery store you wished she hadn’t? Me, too. But I know where she learned those words … by listening to me talk. Long before our kids could recognize “elephant” on a page, they knew the word and how to use it.
When we read aloud, we are adding to their word banks. Invariably, authors use words we don’t say every day. Hearing new words or familiar words used in different contexts adds to their skill set.
Triggers Comprehension Skills
Longer stories have more than one character and events that build upon each other. Keeping up with the story means using our brains to organize it all.
- Who’s who, what’s their role, how do they relate to other characters?
- What just happened?
- Why did that just happen?
- Was that “thing” important or not-so-important?
Last but not least, we have to remember it all. That’s not easy. I admit I have re-read chapters from a previous night or two to refresh my memory. There are easy ways to check reader comprehension, but that is for another day.
Pushes Their Imagination
Think “playing a movie in my head.” Authors give us great descriptions of their characters, but we each put that same information together in a different way. Can you ever pick up a Harry Potter book and not see Daniel Ratcliffe?
The same thing is true with events. Sure, our pirate ship probably looks similar, but how it “crashes on the rocks” is a personal vision. Big waves, little waves, no waves? Rocks on the beach or cliff? People flying overboard or not? … you get the idea.
The Book is Just the Beginning
Sure, spending one-on-one time reading a book is good for literacy, but its good for us, too.
When you read out loud with your child, you not only model how reading is important, you show them THEY are important. Our kids watch us. They know how full our schedules are. Having time with you means a lot to them. Yes, even your teenager appreciates some “just us” time.
Whether its 5 minutes or 30, you are making a difference. You’re also giving your child their own superpower: being a confident reader.