Reading aloud is one of the most important habits that I seek to cultivate in our home. Yet in spite of how much I value literacy and literature, I’m surprised that often several days go by and we’ve barely read anything besides naptime stories.
Even though I think of myself as “a mom who reads aloud,” it’s easy to let the habit slip in the midst of the busyness and distractions of daily life.
I have to remind myself often to keep read alouds a priority and a default activity. Here are some of the benefits I like to remind myself of as prompts for pulling out those library books one more time:
- Reading aloud strengthens family relationships.
I love it when all of my kids, from age 7 down to age 2, sit with me and listen to the same story together. We get to share a bond over the book, and my kids enjoy having my undivided attention.
Making this a consistent habit helps my kids get used to listening. We love having these peaceful moments in the midst of a busy schedule; it helps us all develop our bonds as a family.
- Reading aloud develops literacy and attention spans.
Some educators claim that reading out loud has a bigger impact on a child’s language development than all the day-to-day conversations you have.
While I believe both reading and conversations are vital, I agree that books are irreplaceable when it comes to making early cognitive connections between speech and print, along with adding a lot of variety to children’s vocabulary.
Read-alouds also benefit children by helping to build their attention spans. The ability to focus on a storyline is increasingly rare in today’s screen-saturated culture. By helping your child develop this ability, you’re giving her an invaluable tool for succeeding in her education.
Even young toddlers have the capacity to sit and listen to long stories; it just takes time and consistency for them to increase their ability to pay attention.
- Reading aloud gives kids a gateway into understanding the world around them.
I learned this through my own experience. The books I read as a child helped me understand so much of life and history that I may not have otherwise.
Books open the door for imagination and discussion of theoretical concepts as well as practical. They can serve as conversation starters, not the beginning and end of the discussion. Through reading, kids can experience fiction, nonfiction, myth, imaginary creatures, historical events, nature, and more. Picture books allow them to experience art, shapes, color, and form as well.
- Reading aloud makes learning core concepts more enjoyable.
Preschoolers can enjoy learning about colors, numbers, shapes, animals, etc. in story format as well as in other ways, while older kids can learn about science, geography, and culture through reading, especially when you’re reading to them at a higher level than they’re capable of yet themselves.
Teaching facts in the context of a story makes ideas more concrete and helps kids grasp real-world concepts outside of their own experiences.
- Reading aloud can help your child learn to love reading themselves.
When reading aloud is a frequent activity at home, kids are usually more motivated to learn to read to themselves, becoming lifelong readers and learners. Creating the habit of reading at home is a meaningful tradition that will impact your child positively for years to come!