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While the past year has had a lot of changes in our lives, there is one constant in our home that we make sure we keep up with as often as possible and that is reading together. Reading out loud benefits and strengthens my child and I’s relationship, it builds a love for reading and helps increase my daughter’s reading level in a calm relaxed manner. Reading together is the perfect way to connect with children because it allows us, as parents, to slow down from our busy day and be completely present in the moment.
Why We Prioritize Reading In Our Home
As a busy mom of 4 children, it’s safe to say that my time is definitely stretched daily, but no matter what, I always prioritize my read-aloud time with my 7-year-old daughter. It is one constant in our ever-changing lives that brings us connection, adventure and calm all at the same time. One of my favorite ways to spend quality time with my kids, especially my 7-year-old daughter, is by reading aloud with her before bedtime. This forms a part of my 7-year-old’s bedtime routine. Although I have my sweet 8-month-old glued to my hip during most of my waking hours, independent time with my 7-year-old is important to me so that I can give my daughter my full focus and attention. This is a time for unwinding, talking about our day, and going on fun adventures through pictures and words found in our favorite books. I make sure to give my sweet 8-month-old some independent time with her daddy and make this read-aloud time with my 7-year-old just about her and me. It’s a way that we’ve connected for years, and it’s something that we both look forward to every night. A helpful reading out loud benefit is that it also allows me to see what my child’s reading fluency is like and shows me which words she finds challenging. I can then adjust which books we are reading.
The Importance of Reading Aloud to Your Kids
While I may choose to read aloud books that are above my daughter’s reading level, my favorite way to do read-aloud time is actually to do shared read-aloud time with my daughter. What this means, in my home, is that I read a few pages (or a page depending on how many words are on each page) and then I hand the book over to my daughter for her turn. We both take turns reading aloud.
Taking turns keeps a child active, involved, and engaged in the story. It also prevents my daughter from getting tired while reading, especially when a book is a little challenging. Giving her a break while I take my turn to read allows me to enunciate words that I know she may have trouble with and familiarizes her with new words that she will likely need to read when it’s her turn too.
Shared Reading Out Loud Benefits:
- It allows a parent to be fully present.
- It gives us time to bond.
- It improves a child’s reading fluency because the child can see how you are reading and model after you.
- It increases a child’s vocabulary- listening to how certain words are pronounced will help a child say and pronounce them correctly too.
- Reading aloud is a simple way to slow down and enjoy the day.
- It can give a child confidence to sound out words and learn how to say them.
- It’s a fun way to make reading interesting. You can change up your tone of voice for different characters or even get up and add movements, too.
- It sharpens a child’s focus.
- It improves listening and reading skills.
- It results in greater reading comprehension.
- It encourages children to use their imagination.
- It is a calming activity.
Based on my own experience, I’ve noticed that if one of my children was ever struggling with their reading level at school, spending time each day reading aloud with them would help increase their reading level and it would remind them how much they loved to read. When choosing read-aloud books, we like to mix our choices up between picture books, graphic novels, and chapter books. This tends to vary on the kids’ ages and what they’re interested in at the time. Sometimes I choose books that are below my daughter’s grade level, and other times I prefer books that are a little more challenging. I judge this based on my daughter’s mood for the day and what I think she needs in that particular moment. Picture books are still wonderful to read, even as your child gets older. They still work on those reading skills, while having beautiful and interesting illustrations too.
I also love choosing books that are geared towards themes like the current season.
It is currently October and Halloween is around the corner. I set out some matching spooky pajamas and our Halloween-themed pillows for a special read-aloud night. My daughter always loves when I do this!
Goals for Reading Out Loud Time With My Child
One of the main goals when reading aloud is to build a child’s love for reading and to associate it with happy memories. By including easier books, just right books, and even those challenging books, I feel it creates a good balance. My goals for reading aloud include:
- Creating that end of the day connection with my daughter.
- Independent mom and child time to re-iterate how important she is to me.
- Getting in those much-needed hugs for the day.
- Opening up conversations that encourage my daughter to talk about her day. She often likes to lay in bed with me after read-aloud time to talk to me about how her day has been.
- promote an internal love for reading
- Improve my daughters reading fluency through practice practice practice.
As an avid reader now, my childhood love for reading definitely helped shape this never-ending desire to read more and more books. Did you know that 83% of kids love read-aloud time? When you ask children at school what is one of their favorite parts of their school day and many will answer back that read-aloud time is their favorite! Reading Out Loud benefits a child’s mind, body, and soul and builds a love for reading too.
Books that we are reading out loud this month:
We just finished reading Diary of A Pug – Scaredy-Pug (I’ve already ordered the second book in the series!) and have just started reading Baby-Sitters Little Sister – Karen’s Roller Skates. I also love to theme our books according to the current season and with Fall and Halloween being around the corner I knew that Vampires don’t wear polka dots, was exactly what we needed to pair with our themed pajamas. Here are the books that we are currently reading and their synopsis.
- Diary of A Pug – Scaredy-Pug– We love Diary of A Pug books! They are funny, simple, and are always an enjoyable read. This title in the series is a must during the Halloween season! What happens when a ghost is spotted in the attic? Will it derail the playdate that is planned, or will they work together to overcome their fears?
- Owl Diaries Eva’s Treetop Festival This chapter book is the perfect way to introduce your early reader to longer books. The owl diary books are great for learning more about friendship and confidence. Eva offers to set up a school festival but realizes she’s in over her head. Will she be able to get the help that she needs, or is she going to have to cancel the entire festival instead?
- Baby-Sitters Little Sister – Karen’s Roller Skates Remember the Baby-Sitter Club books from back in the day? Their new line of books is all about their little sisters! Super fun to read and relive alongside your child, too. Getting new skates is a big deal, but Karen has an accident and breaks her wrist! Since she can’t be outside skating, she has her sights set now on a whole new goal. Will she accomplish it or not?
- Vampires don’t wear polka dots Don’t forget to sprinkle in some fun graphic novels for the kids to read as well. This is a fun way to look at pictures while working on reading skills at the same time. Could it be true? Is there new teacher really a vampire? The kids will have to find out the truth in order to know what to do next!
- There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves Silly and fun rhyming books are a way to get kids excited about reading! What is the Old Lady up to know? Find out how she’s spending her fall days, what she’s collecting, and what she’s planning on doing with all those fun fall items!
Even though there may be some days that are hard and tiring and downright frustrating, just remember that reading is a great solution to help everyone slow down, sit down, and reset.
Prioritize reading aloud in your home now to help instill the love of reading into your children as well. This is a tradition that they just may carry on if and when they become parents, too!
95% of educators agree that providing year-round access to books at home is important to enhancing student achievement. That’s another reason why reading aloud at home is so important.
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