• Kristin Hankins

WHY Read Aloud?

Studies show that in Kindergarten, ALL kids are enthusiastic about reading. By the time they are in 4th grade, only 54% read for pleasure. In 8th grade, that drops to 30%. In 12th grade, ONLY 19% of students are reading for pleasure! In fact, research reveals that teens ages 15-19 read on average only 12 minutes each day, versus almost 2.25 HOURS watching TV!

Why does this happen? Once children start reading on their own around Kindergarten-first grade, parents stop reading aloud to them. But, “The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.” In fact, “It is a practice that should continue through the grades.” To sum it up: Start reading aloud at birth and don’t stop.

Reading aloud to your children is the CHEAPEST and the MOST POWERFUL thing you can do to help them along. And this can be one of the best ways to help your reluctant reader. But it's not always easy to get started. That's where I come in! I want to help you cultivate relationships that are warm, loving, calm, and centered around your family read-aloud time.

One obstacle I hear parents mention is that their kids won’t sit still or they aren’t interested. It’s okay if you get off to a rocky start with instating a read-aloud time, and I have a few tips to help you! First, our kids copy everything we do… so it just makes sense to model a love for reading by reading in front of them for at least a few minutes every day. They will soon see that this is something YOU enjoy, and they’ll be curious! Second, remember that we are all motivated to do more of something if the experience is enjoyable and we are interested in the topic. Third, I find that when my kids’ hands are busy, their minds are free to listen and enjoy the story. During chapter books, when they don’t have pictures to look at, they’re playing with silly putty, making bead creations, modeling clay, coloring, and more. It’s also okay to start with 5 minutes of read-aloud time and work your way up. Before you know it you’ll be hearing “just one more chapter!!!”

I hope these 3 tips help your family. I would love to hear your feedback!

The information quoted in this article are from Jim Trelease's Read Aloud Handbook.

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