Between the ages of four and seven, many children begin to recognize words on a page. Reading aloud can help demystify the reading process. By reading stories that are on their interest level, but beyond their reading level, you can stretch your young readers’ understanding, and motivate them to improve their skills.
No method better prepares children for that moment when “reading” clicks. Reading to children effectively builds and reinforces vocabulary as well. The relationship between the printed word, the spoken word, and the meaning of words moves from the abstract to the concrete. Reading aloud contextualizes words that are often taught in isolated instances.
Even if a book is beyond your child’s reading level, it’s not beyond their listening level, and they are bound to be introduced to a plethora of new words. Hearing the words, following the storyline, and creating a whole picture allows the child to “place” the words, and become accustomed to using complete sentences.
Children who are read to grow to love books. They remember the stories that made them laugh or cry. They remember sharing stories with people they love, ad they anticipate with joy the time when they will be able to read for themselves.
Many people consider their early experiences of bedtime storytelling to be the most cherished and valuable memories of their lives. The peacefulness, the reassurance of a parent’s voice, the escape into new and exciting worlds of adventure, the drama of a story unfolding in real time, combine to form indelible memories and mold children into book-lovers.
There is no more important activity for preparing your child to succeed as a reader than reading aloud together. It is an almost organic process, stimulating their imaginations and expanding their understanding of the world. Children learn to love the sound of language even before they notice the existence of printed words on a page.
There is a learning chain that occurs: you read to your children, they develop a love of stories, they want totread on their own, they practice reading, and finally they red for their own information and pleasure.
Reading aloud to children helps stimulate an interest in reading and language as it helps develop listening skills and prepares children to understand the written word.
And it is not an activity limited to children who cannot yet read. You can make this all-important time together enjoyable for children of all ages. The togetherness and affection that develop during read-aloud sessions should not cease because a child knows ho to read on his or her own.