We all know that it's good to read to our kids when they're little. It helps them develop language, recognise words, and gets ready for kinder and school.
What is less known however, is that it is equally beneficial to read to kids even after they can read on their own. In fact, the research shows that reading out loud after age 5 continues to improve reading and listening skills as well as academic performance. It's also a lot of fun because everyone loves a good story, whether it's in the form of a paper book, an ebook, an audiobook, or even a podcast.
Here are 10 good reasons to keep reading out loud to your older kids:
Children who are read to encounter more words than they would by just being spoken to and studies show that having a large vocabulary helps kids perform better in school.
When kids are engaged in a story, they understand it more completely.
Warm memories of hearing stories from a loved one can inspire a lifelong love of reading. Not only that, but in this busy world, it is a wonderful moment in time for a family to bust "be".
Kids learn a lot by observation and reading out loud lets them hear what language sounds like. You can also model how to analyse a story as you read and how to bring the words to life using tone and pattern.
Reading out loud helps train kids' ears for understanding instruction in school. Which is great as according to educator Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, "A child’s reading level doesn't catch up to his listening level until eighth grade."
Kids may be put off by the challenging language of Shakespeare, the old-fashioned settings of Jane Austen or the sheer size of Lord of The Rings at school, but in a cozy home setting, you can help the text come alive as you take on character voices and fill in historical context.
I don't know if you've noticed, but kids tend tune out when you lecture them about what and what not to do. But if can find a story that shows characters grappling with serious conflicts and the consequences of their actions, it's a way into talking about complex, topical matters.
Reading out loud lets parents introduce kids to different types of books and stories, helping them learn which sorts they'd like to choose for themselves.
Reading books on subjects or within genres that your kids love (even if it's Minecraft) gives you something to share and discuss, while also putting you both on a level playing field- rather than you always being the teacher, they can share their knowledge with you.
Non-fiction books are great to read out loud, too. For older kids and teens, try books or articles by journalists covering current or recent events and world issues. And there are lots of popular histories that are so engaging they read like nail-biting fiction.
So go on, get reading!