Professional educators are talking about it. Newspapers are reporting it. And researchers are analysing it.
What is it? The benefit of reading aloud to our children.
We all get busy. I know that I do. And as soon as time constraints and pressure for academic achievement begin to press, the simple act of reading aloud is often the first thing to go.
In addition to our busy schedules, there is a temptation to view reading aloud as mere entertainment rather than an important component in developing our children both academically and socially. Studies are showing that read aloud time benefits our children in many ways that we may not have considered.
I have been deeply missing the time to read aloud to my children in recent weeks. I do not mean read alouds with just the little ones, but the experience of reading a book- all of us hunkered down together to share a literary adventure. Reading aloud is much more than just getting through a book. It's a united family memory in a world that seems bent on promoting division and isolation.
As I thought through why I needed to make some changes to get read aloud time BACK into our schedule. I came up with the following list of positives I wanted to share with you:
1. READING ALOUD HELPS TO PASS ON MY CONVICTIONS AND WORLDVIEW IN A NATURAL WAY. As we read and discuss what is happening to the characters in a fictional or non fictional tale we are able to discuss important topics in a natural way. Thoughts on how we should respond to trial; what Christ-like love looks like; what it can cost to take a stand for our beliefs and so on. Even our convictions about what we should read and meditate on are translated as we read aloud. Reading is a powerful teaching tool and so we desire to be careful to read only quality books that champion biblical principles (Phil. 4:8). Books from Lamplighter Publishing and the Elsie Dinsmore books have been special favorites.
"Be as careful of the books you read, as of the company you keep,
for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the
former as the latter." -Paxton Hood
2. READING ALOUD BUILDS CRITICAL SKILLS- PAINLESSLY. While most of us would agree that we desire for our children to have a rich vocabulary, to be able to speak and write articulately and to have a life long love of learning, it is easy to toss out the very thing experts tell us builds these critical skills (painlessly!)
"Research indicates that reading aloud to children substantially improves
their reading skills, as well as their written, oral, and auditory skills. In
addition, children that hear read-alouds have an increased positive
attitude towards reading more so than those that do not hear read
alouds." - Elizabeth Qunell - Read Aloud Research
3. READING ALOUD IS A BONDING EXPERIENCE. As we share a story, we are bonded by common thoughts, common inspiration and a shared moment in time. It's a time when the phone is tucked away, the computer is off, everyone is gathered and the children have mommy all to themselves.
4. READING IS A BUDGET FRIENDLY PAST TIME. Many of us are working hard to keep spending down. Homeschooling families especially often live on one income. Well, nothing could be less expensive and more lasting than reading. It doesn't require gas or have an inflated single admission cost and it doesn't cultivate expensive taste.
5. IT'S FUN. I enjoy it and so the kids enjoy it. And fun is a great reason as well.
"Children should spend less time completing workbooks and skill sheets...
there is little evidence that these activities are related to
-Becoming a Nation of Readers: The Report of the Commission on Reading,
Richard C. Anderson, Elfrieda H. Hiebert, Judith A. Scott, and Ian A.G. Wilkinson
Well, I convinced myself and we are on our third read aloud book this month! What about you? Do you enjoy reading aloud as a family? If so, do you have a favorite family book?
Will you be at the SCOPE conference this weekend?
If so, stop by the 'moms helping moms' booth (located near the It's a Grind coffee stall) and say, 'hello!' I'll be serving with other seasoned homeschool moms to offer encouragement to the weary-- and free chocolate to all. I'd love to see you there!