When I was 7 years old, my older brother Isaac read JRR Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of The Ring” aloud to me. I remember being enthralled by the exciting adventure of Frodo and his friends. Oh, I should probably mention that my brother Isaac was only 9 when he read it to me. My brother’s behavior was no doubt learned from our parents who frequently read to us.
Reading aloud to our children, especially when they are little, is an integral part of human bonding and the cultivation of relationship. In addition to spending quality time together, reading aloud to our children helps engender in them a love for language and story.
While it is important for us to read to our children, it is also important to let our children read aloud to us. This allows us to help them work through more challenging passages: “what does this word mean?” and “how do I pronounce this word?” Allowing our children to read aloud to us also gives them foundational skills for public speaking and even theatrical performance. Besides the external skills that are developed by children reading aloud, there is also the internal values of confidence and self-esteem. When a child can read a book to his/her parents, there is a healthy sense of accomplishment that is birthed within them which goes along way in encouraging future learning and academic achievement.
I began this post sharing a personal story about my brother Isaac reading aloud to me. Siblings reading to each other is also an opportunity for bonding and growth. Older siblings can bond with younger siblings much like the parent-child bond by reading aloud to them and young siblings can grow in skills and confidence by reading to their older siblings.
Reading aloud is about communal relationship, bonding, and expression of love. Read to your children, let them read to you, and have your children read to each other. Remember, years and years from now, your children may forget the specific plot details of the books you read to them — but they’ll never forget that you read to them.
Here are a few read aloud favorites that my parents read when I was young:
- Summer of the Monkeys
- Little Britches
- The Chronicles of Narnia
- Cheaper by the Dozen
- The Indian in the Cupboard
Share some of your favorite read aloud books in the comments section.
Part two of a four part series on reading.
Part 1 – Books and Academic Achievement
Part 2 – Why We Need to Read Together: The Magic of Reading Aloud
Part 3 – Facebook: The New Reader’s Digest
Part 4 – Fiction and Training the Imagination