We all know about the benefits of reading, especially for kids. And it should start from a very young age. Experts advise to start reading to infants and toddlers every day for some time. This not only helps them to grasp the language better and quicker but also strengthens your bond with them. Did you know that higher reading exposure was 95% positively correlated with a growing region supporting semantic language processing in the brain?
Being read to as kids help them to imbibe it as a lifetime habit. It enhances their vocabulary, boosts confidence, improves their analytical skills and creativity as well.
According to the Department of Education, the more students read or are read to for fun on their own time and at home, the higher their reading scores. So, it is very important for parents and teachers to do a lot of Read Alouds for the kids, especially the smaller ones.
A review in the Archives of Disease in Childhood stated that "Reading aloud to young children, particularly in an engaging manner, promotes emerging literacy and language development and supports the relationship between child and parent.”
What is a Read Aloud?
A read-aloud is when teachers, parents, and caregivers read texts aloud to children. Mostly, it is in the context of storybooks, but it can be other things as well. The reader adds variation in pitch, tone, pace, volume, pauses, eye contact, questions, and comments to produce a fluent and enjoyable delivery.
It is very surprising that only 17% of parents of kids in the age group of 9 to 11 years read aloud to their children. Yet 83% of kids n the age group 6 to 17 years refer to being read as something they either loved or liked a lot.
Read alouds can be helpful for kids of any age. They make them knowledgeable and also curious about topics and texts, from novels to news reports. For smaller kids, storytime gets more exciting when done through innovative read alouds. They also learn faster and are motivated to read on their own as well.
Why Read Alouds important?
Through a read-aloud, kids can understand words better sometimes might be a bit difficult to understand to read. It is also a positive experience for the child. Let us look at some of the benefits of a read-aloud.
a) It improves vocabulary and helps them learn new words
b) It creates a bond between the reader and the child. It is a great resource for teachers or parents to connect with kids.
c) It builds attention span because they have to listen to the reading attentively to understand and comprehend. You can also add some comprehension activities at the end to check how much they have understood.
d) It instills the habit of reading for life. Once they see how interesting it is to read and also have fun, they are motivated to read themselves in the future.
e) It helps to build a connection between written and spoken words so they can understand and interpret better. They also learn about the right pronunciation in the process.
f) It exposes them to different genres because the reader can introduce a different book each time from different authors, according to their age group. It helps to explore and read more.
How to choose books for a Read Aloud?
For young learners – For young kids, bright and colourful books with images and short words should be chosen. You should also show them the images while reading aloud so they are more engaged. These kids will also learn many new words while you are reading, so start with simple and easy 2- or 3- letter words.
For beginning readers – Choose books with characters to which kids can relate to, something closer to reality. These books can have 3- and 4-letter words which they can hear and learn through phonics.
For fluent readers – For them, you can choose books with extensive vocabulary where they are urged to gradually read on their own and also explore word means, including synonyms and antonyms.
How to make a Read Aloud interesting?
Here are some tips and suggestions on how you can proceed with a read-aloud, making it an interesting and learning experience.
Always start with a picture walk of the book – Show them the cover image and read the title and author name. For very small kids, show them the images on all the pages till the end.
Remember to ask what they liked in the book at the end - After finishing the book, ask them about what they liked, which character name they can remember, or anything specific they remember or learned.
Don't stop reading once a child starts reading independently- Even, if the child starts reading on their own, do not stop reading to them. It has been found that a read-aloud can be beneficial to elder kids as well in nay ways. From storybooks, you can move onto something different like articles or novels.
Introduce different genres of books- In read alouds, start introducing different genres and authors. You can use vocal variation and props as well accordingly.