Why reading stories aloud with your children is important
Reading stories aloud with your children is a great way to help them to start reading independently and will open up the magical world reading has to offer.
Reading is also the bedrock of all education and learning. Once a child has learned to read they will have developed a life long skill that will enable them to learn and gain knowledge.
What are your memories of learning to read?
Think back to when you first started reading. For many of us it was a chore. I know I found it very hard, and then at some point, having struggled with reading I had that break when something in my head clicked and I started to read a proper book without pictures.
I was hooked and books suddenly became fun and opened up a vast new world of knowledge and entertainment.
I remembered this very clearly when my eldest daughter was probably about seven – and still very much behind the curve with reading herself. So over the Christmas holidays I read her one chapter a day of The Hundred and One Dalmatians
One of the first books I read – and have since read many times over. Like me, she became hooked on books from that moment on.
Don’t get me wrong I had always read bedtime stories aloud to my children. But never had quite found the time to read a proper book to them. This was complicated by the fact that my daughter had a younger brother who would not have been able to sit still for long enough, while we trawled through a book chapter by chapter. Well that had been my reasoning – and possibly my excuse anyway.
The thing is even once your child has mastered reading proper books reading a book together is good fun and can provide some quality personal time with your children. Time which costs next to nothing especially if you are reading books from the local library.
Useful tips for reading stories aloud to your children
Choose books together
- Choose books together. Buying books which appeal to you both, will make this a time of day you and the kids look forward to. Look on-line, join the library or have some fun at a local bookshop.
Create a routine around reading
- Set a time of day to read the book together. Try to make it a regular feature in your working week. Even if some days it is just two or three pages. Schedule time for reading stories together as a family activity when you are on holiday or at weekends.
Take it in turns to read
- Encourage your child to take his turn to read aloud. However – if he really would prefer you to read to him don’t make this an issue. Encouragement is the key so of course, if he wants to read to you – brilliant.
Talk about the book
- Before you start reading, ask questions about the story so far and the book’s characters. This way your child is practising reading comprehension, and the ability to summarise without even realising. He will also be increasing his vocabulary.
- To keep interest and your child actively involved, discuss the book when you are out and about doing other tasks. Ask them what they think will happen next, or what they like or dislike about the characters.
Spend a few minutes planning
- Try to leave the book at an interesting point. If you find there is a lot of prose within the book which is heavy going to read, then take a few moments on your own to prep and scan through the next chapter and summarise the prose before moving back to reading aloud.
Focus on your children’s interests
Some good examples of books with excellent stories to read aloud with kids include the Horrid Henry’s Swimming Lesson (Horrid Henry Early Reader) and The Tracy Beaker Trilogy. Alternatively why not try some of the old classics like Winnie-the-Pooh and The Wind in the Willows
If your children are interested in football – focus in on football stories an excellent book is Football School: Where Football Explains the World (shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2017), or for older children perhaps a footballers auto-biography or a particular hero of theirs.
Make reading fun
Remember this is about having fun. You may be surprised to read that their reading skills are not the focus here. This is about showing them the joy of reading and why it is something to pursue even though they might find it hard to begin with.
However rest assured over time, one of the many benefits from you investing in reading with and to your children their own ability to read is likely to improve significantly.
For further information on helping children to read take a look at the following BBC Skillwise page.
Want further ideas on helping children play and learn at the same time then you might like to take a look at this related article.