Reading aloud to your child is one of the best things you can do for strengthening literacy skills. On the common core standards for 5 year olds there are 20 standards that can be met from spending time with quality books and listening to stories.
Unlike speaking or walking, reading doesn't come naturally to us humans, and needs to be learned outright. Some children read very young, and some not until they are 7-8 years old. This is developmentally linked, and not a reflection of “teaching reading”. In fact, pressuring a child to read before she is ready can be a step backwards!
Is your child struggling to read? Contact me for a few pointers.
Try to read to your child at least once per day from quality books (like the ones below). There are a lot of awful books out there that don't offer anything of value to a young child, or books that try to teach concepts directly, or (gasp!) those that are directly marketing to your child. Spot a quality book by looking for beautiful illustrations, well-written, realistic text, and a general story theme that your child can relate to (no flying princess bunnies).
Try and follow a similar pattern when you read a book so your child begins to understand the process. I always start by reading the title, author, and illustrator (also a common core standard!), then invite the child to turn the page.
In the beginning I hold the book so the only page you can turn is the next one. At the end of the book I always say "The End!" and "Would you like to read it again?"
Other benefits of reading aloud to your child include:
An example of HOW to read a book (how to hold it, turn the pages, going from right to left, etc) For young babies, be sure to follow their lead and allow for (monitored) exploration of books. Never let a child rip out pages, throw, or draw in a book.
A time to be close to you or another adult while reading. Your child will connect the joy of sitting with you with reading, an essential piece towards creating motivation to read later.
Interesting stories and examples of things the child may have seen before, or not! This provides a way to make connections from the story to the child's life.
"This dog is black, like our dog"
"Here's a lineworker, like we saw last week by the library"
" This child is planting seeds, like we did this morning"
Introduction to new and expanded vocabulary. It's much easier to talk about new things with a common reference point, like the illustration in a book, or explaining a word in the context of the story.
Use the photo in Madeline to show what a solemn face looks like.
After hearing the line "In a car with a red light, they drove out into the night" your child might be able to guess it's an ambulance.
A strong model for a love of reading. The very act of you opening a book and speaking aloud a story is captivating and fantastic. Do it enough and your child will want to do it too. Even a few minutes a day makes a big difference!
Ten Excellent Picture Books for Children
These are stories that appeal to a variety of ages and have stood the test of time. These stories are all based in relative reality for young children, and are arranged by recommended age. Click on the photo to be taken to Amazon to purchase and/or for more information. (images from Amazon)
What are your favourite books to read aloud with your children? Share here:
About the Author:
Leanne Gray, M.Ed has over fifteen years experience working with children in both public, private, and Montessori schools, and is AMI primary trained.
She's on a mission to raise a generation of kind, confident, responsible children, and does this through her work with families and schools. Read more here.