I couldn't resist a post on such an awesome day, World Read Aloud Day! One of my favorite things to do with my daughter is read aloud together, often with a chai tea latte in hand, homemade in the kitchen, right before sitting down to a great book together! Even my special needs son loves to have books read aloud to him every day. There is much to be gained from reading aloud to your children, and some especially beneficial ways to do it, so let me share with you a few of them...
Benefits of Reading Aloud
The benefits below are in no way an exhaustive list. The list would truly be exhausting to read through, if I were to list every benefit to reading aloud. Hopefully, these few reasons I've highlighted below will encourage you to make it a regular part of your family time together, and a priority in your homeschool. If it is already a regular part, then read on and encourage yourself, as I recall some of the benefits. There may even be a few new ideas to spark some changes to your read aloud choices.
It Builds Relationship - What a great way to spend time together as a family, either snuggled together on the couch or while little ones play with toys as they listen and bigger kids do hand crafts and listen. It's an activity that can captivate all ages together, and build special time when you slow down life and share something together. This is one of the "anchors" to our homeschool and family life.
Engages Their Imagination - When you read fairy tales or fiction, a child engages their imagination, visualizing in their minds eye, what is occurring within the story. The benefits of exercising a child's imagination are numerous and that's another post, but the main idea is an increase in creativity, which could be another lengthy post on the benefits as well. If you're reading at bedtime to your children, I've even read that it increases your child's ability to sleep well. What Mom doesn't need that?
Read Above Their Grade Level - Prior to high school, a child's comprehension skills and reading skills aren't the same. Generally speaking, your child should be able to comprehend higher level books than they are able to read. So you should easily be able to read a 4th grade book to your 2nd grader, and you should - it's good for them!
Read Below Their Grade Level - Occasionally, pick some books that are just fun and require them to exert very little effort to listen. These books are good for hard days when your child is just not having their best day. It's a calming way to re-energize their minds, encourage their hearts, and restore relationships.
Read Quality Classic Literature - Don't be afraid to read the classics, even if they seem too difficult for them to fully understand, knowing you will come back around to reading that book again in a year or two. In reading some of these well written works, your children are gaining the benefit of hearing good English grammar, excellently constructed sentences, gaining broader vocabulary and hearing proper pronunciation, in addition to hearing well developed story elements. This will aid them in writing later down the road, so go for it and don't worry if you have to stop and explain some things along the way or only read a page or two at a time -it's worth it.
Be Politically Incorrect in Your Choices - Read books that clearly spell out what is right and wrong, have strong characters with well defined lines between good and evil. Don't allow your younger students to read books where bad villains sometimes are good or good heroes are sometimes bad. In helping your child develop character and virtue, you want to solidify godly character and make the lines black and white between good and evil for them. Don't be afraid to read books that have language in it that isn't "p.c." in today's world. That's OK. It's a great conversation to have with your kids about the changing world we live in, and how God's standards never change!
Develop Auditory Processing Skills In a Visual World - In today's visually driven world, where everything has some tantalizing visual medium for your kids to engage in, it's becoming difficult for kids to process information without visual cues. If your child especially struggles with auditory processing, one of the best helps can be reading aloud to them every day for at least a few minutes.
You can check out some of our favorite and fun reads from this past summer over at Summer Tea and Books
Our current reads this past few weeks are:
Grab your kids, coffee or tea, a good book and enjoy World Read Aloud Day together!