Lifetime benefits from Read Alouds
The more you read, the more you know; and the more you know, the smarter you grow. The single most important activity for building knowledge and reading success is reading aloud to children (Becoming a Nation of Readers, 1985). It should begin at birth and continue through high school. Reading to children for 20 minutes a day sounds simple, but has lifetime benefits.
Research confirms that regardless of sex, race, or socioeconomic background students who read the most also read the best, achieve the most, and stay in school the longest. Reading aloud is a springboard for a child wanting to read on his/her own but it also nurtures a child’s listening comprehension. Listening comprehension feeds reading comprehension. This is an essential tool to motivate and assist students in meeting state standards.
The read aloud introduces the book’s vocabulary, which differs from language heard in daily conversations, on television, and in movies exposing students to more descriptive and formal language. Most importantly, reading aloud gets children and adults to think and talk about a common topic. Talking supports the development of reading and writing skills.
Parents and teachers are role models for reading. When children see adults excited about reading they catch their enthusiasm. Reading aloud creates a bond between adult and child, a shared learning experience, while the adult is pouring words into the child’s ear building vocabulary. Simply put, we should read to children for the same reasons we talk with children: to bond, inform, explain, arouse curiosity, and inspire.
Reading to children for 20 minutes a day is simple, but it makes the greatest impact in the lives of children.