Reading should bring joy to a child’s world.
Stories, books, and reading all shape what we think and who we are by the connections we make with the characters, their situations, and the settings in which the stories take place. Most children are unaware that they are making such connections as they learn to think and act like good readers. Because reading aloud provides children with a model of confident and expert reading, it should be a vital part of their lives.
Reading aloud is the foundation for literacy development. It is the single most important activity for reading success, providing children with a demonstration of phrased, fluent reading. Read-alouds reveal the rewards of reading and develop the listener’s interest in books and desire to be a reader.
Here are a few key benefits of reading aloud:
1. Children can listen on a higher language level than they can read.
In other words, their listening comprehension outpaces their reading comprehension. Reading aloud makes complex ideas more accessible and exposes children to vocabulary and language patterns that are not part of everyday speech. This, in turn, helps them understand the structure of books when they read independently. Read-alouds also provide children access to information and experiences even when they cannot yet read all of the words. Vooks gives children an added benefit by also providing the read-along text so children can be exposed to the written word, which helps make the connection between what a word looks like and what it sounds like.
2. Reading aloud makes rich and engaging books available to all readers and helps them become better readers.
Readers of any age benefit from hearing an experienced reading of a wonderful book—just think of all the many book readings authors hold all over the world. Whether young or old and everything in between, hearing a story read aloud is an enriching activity that sparks a lifelong love of literature.
3. Being exposed to a wide range of stories and books allows children to see themselves as well as other people, cultures, communities, and issues in the books they read.
They see how characters in books handle the same fears, interests, and concerns that we experience. Children use real life to help them understand books, and books help children understand real life. Choose books that invite children to respond with enthusiasm and understanding. Look for books with rich language, meaningful plots, compelling characters, and engaging illustrations. Helping children find and make connections to stories and books requires them to relate the unfamiliar text to their relevant prior knowledge.
4. Modeling encourages children to develop the habits and strategies proficient readers employ.
Children learn best through observing, absorbing, and then mimicking. By modeling how fluent readers think about the text and problem solve as they read, we make the invisible act of reading visible.
5. Reading aloud builds vocabulary.
The number of words children hear as preschoolers actually predicts how many words they can understand and how quickly they learn new words in kindergarten—preschoolers who hear more words tend to have larger vocabularies in kindergarten. This trend continues through the third grade, where their early language competency from preschool years still accurately predicts language and reading comprehension. Children who are talked and read to are most often the ones with the largest vocabularies, giving them an undeniable advantage in the classroom. Read-alouds expose children to more sophisticated words and sentence structure than conversations, since those are most often in incomplete sentences with a simpler vocabulary.
6. Reading aloud promotes social and emotional growth.
Reading and storytime are good ways to deal with difficult topics—it is easier to approach children with a topic and the choices that a character has made than to lecture about a real experience in which the adult thinks the wrong choice was made. Vooks offers many stories that deal with some of these issues.
Still not convinced? Here are a few more reasons why reading aloud should be part of every child’s daily routine.
- provides children with examples of great writing and models reading strategies.
- builds community through offering children an opportunity to share experiences and build connections.
- exposes children to books, authors, and genres.
- supports developing readers by providing examples of fluent readers reading the text with expression.
- promotes the love of reading; most of us have a fond childhood memory of a favorite book, and oftentimes this book was read aloud.
Vooks supports parents and teachers in the instruction of reading by providing engaging presentation of children’s books and resources to help. We are currently in the research of reading instruction and the benefits of read-alouds and keep an ever-vigilant eye on screen-time research. We strive to provide all children access to Vooks. We do all of this while remaining true to our goal: to promote the love of reading. Check out our free, downloadable learning resources for ideas on how to engage children in Vooks titles.
Patty Duncan, Education Director at Vooks