The Benefits of Reading Aloud to Children of All Ages

“More than half the children in this country—approximately 13 million—will not hear a bedtime story tonight.”

By and large, experts agree reading aloud to children is one of the best gifts a parent can bestow on their children. According to Reach Out and Read, a literacy and school readiness non-profit organization, fewer than half of U.S. children under the age of five are read to every day, placing them at risk for developmental and reading delays.

For younger children, reading is an excellent way to learn more about language, words, and communication. It’s also a great way to introduce new vocabulary. According to Reading is Fundamental (RIF), reading to young children promotes language acquisition and literacy development and, later on, achievement in reading comprehension and overall success in school. Check out their blog for even more information on the importance of reading aloud.

The benefits of reading aloud continue even after a child has learned to read. Parents often stop reading to their older children once they’ve mastered reading independently, but those who do are missing out on some fantastic learning opportunities and development. Studies show that a child’s reading age doesn’t catch up to his listening age until about the time he turns 13. Generally speaking, this means a nine-year-old, reading at age and grade level, can learn and benefit from listening to a story two or more years ahead. Listening to more rigorous literature allows children to enjoy books they might not be able to tackle otherwise, and the more strenuous comprehension is great for their development and cognitive skills.

Tips for reading aloud:

  • Read regularly. Reading 15 minutes a day helps young readers establish the healthy habit of reading.
  • Schedule it. Make reading aloud a part of your daily routine (naptime, after meals, bedtime, etc).
  • Turn it off. Set a rule that reading takes place away from distracting entertainment like T.V.’s, iPads, and video games.
  • Take a trip. Visiting the library regularly ensures your bookshelf is replenished and refreshed!
  • Encourage variety. Providing a variety of reading materials like newspapers and magazines for your children will keep them engaged and aware of the world around them. 
  • Take the learning further. The Internet offers endless resources for reading lists, reading activities, and programs to help children develop a lifelong love of reading. 

At any age, regardless of reading level, reading aloud is a fantastic opportunity to bond with your child, presenting a platform for ongoing dialogue and discussion. Consider embarking on a new reading adventure together tonight by reading aloud. After all, according to Dr. Seuss, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child!”

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