Are You Reading Aloud With Your Child or Do They Read On Their Own?

Why Reading Aloud is Important

Reading is an essential skill to have. It allows people to learn, it gives them access to information and ideas, it allows them to communicate with others and become an active and productive part of their living community. So how do you go about teaching your child to read at their full potential?

One of the best things you can do is read aloud with them.

Reading to children, or having them read aloud along with you, can yield a great many benefits when it comes to reading, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Reading to your child is often their first experience with reading itself. It is important that children develop relationships with books early on. This can be accomplished with books read to children as well as allowing children to play with baby books, typically of the plastic or thick cardboard variety that allows kids to chomp and play with them physically. While kids grow comfortable with books as objects from the standpoint of a plaything, reading to children will help familiarize them with the action.  It will also help boost vocabulary and communication skills as well.

As children get older, reading aloud to them remains important. Reading out loud can help boost their reading comprehension skills on several levels.  “Children learn when they make connections between what they hear and what they know. One method parents can use to help make these connections is called a think aloud, where you talk through your thoughts as you read (Gold, Gibson – Reading Rockets).” This method utilizes their imagination in order to visualize the story being told. If your child is reading along with you, they can begin to familiarize words by sight with their sound, making them much more effective readers. Books personalized for children can boost the read aloud, think aloud, method.  As you verbalize thoughts when reading, children can associate with the story as they become the stars of the storyline.  These types of customized books can be especially helpful with reluctant readers or struggling readers as well.

Your Child is the Star of Each Story!

Having your child read aloud to you can be helpful for them, too. You can hear where their strengths are and where they may be having trouble, but having your child read aloud to you on their own can help build their confidence, find their own voice, and learn how to build their own vocabulary, enunciation and other basic communication aspects as well.

Above all, as beneficial as reading aloud can be, it ultimately provides you and your child with ample quality time that you will cherish for years to come. Setting aside time for reading with your child will help build your relationship and can allow you to share interests, stories and imaginative ideas.

Why You Should Be Reading To Your Older Kids

Reading With Older Kids

When people think of reading aloud to their children, they often imagine doing so for a while. Babies and toddlers love listening to stories, and studies have shown that having a reading ritual can help pique a kid’s interest in books and learning. Reading together is a great activity and many parents read their children stories before bedtime, but this practice often ends up being abandoned once kids become independent readers. However, just because kids can read on their own does not mean that they can’t gain new skills from being read to any longer. There are plenty of reasons why parents should continue to read to their kids, even as they get older.

Quality Time
The benefits of reading together as an activity never gets old. Reading a book together is a great way to share a quiet, intimate moment with your child, and is akin to watching a movie together if you think about it, but still a bit more personal and special. Continuing the reading tradition as kids get older can help create some fond memories and allow parents and children to bond over characters and the stories they’re a part of.

There Are Still Plenty of Benefits
According to the author of “Read-Aloud Handbook” John Trelease, a child’s reading level does not catch up to their listening level until they are about twelve or thirteen, or are around the 7th-8th grade level. Taking this to mind, as a parent you should read more advanced books to children, perhaps books that are a grade or two above their level, in order to help enhance their skills. Your child may still be learning how to read more efficiently or read more complex sentences and structures, but even though they may have some difficulties learning to do these as they read themselves does not mean that they will not understand a story above their grade-level if it is read to them.

You Can Use Them to Teach Life Lessons
If you don’t want to come off as sounding too heavy-handed, you can always choose books with particular messages to share with your children. By showing them ideas and teaching them lessons this way, they may not feel as if they are being treated as a younger child, and being told to think or do something in particular.  They actually may  enjoy the message more if it is in the form of a story that they are sharing with their parent.

It Helps Build Vocabulary
The best way to build your vocabulary arsenal is to learn and acquire new words. Sure, many language arts courses have spelling curriculums that aim to do that, but learning new words is always best when it occurs organically. Just like learning a language is easier if you are immersed in it versus reading from a text book, reading slightly more advanced books to your older children can help improve their vocabulary and choice of words.

It Allows You to Get Close to Your Child
As your kids get older and approach their tween and teenage years, they are not likely to want to hug and cuddle you as much anymore, which is completely normal. Reading together, however, requires that the reader and the listener share some close personal space, so reading aloud to older kids can provide you two with a reason to spend some cozy time together.

Reading Can Provide Kids with a Sense of Belonging
Kids in their tweens or teens often feel isolated or misunderstood, which is completely normal. With emotional, hormonal and physical changes that they are undergoing, kids are learning about who they really are and may sometimes feel alone in the journey. Reading can provide these kids with the opportunity to connect to characters like them, who are struggling through different trials and tribulations just like they are. Great literature often has this sort of effect on the reader or the listener, helping them feel understood and less alone. There are plenty of classics that cover the time-old coming-of-age trope that many kids may identify with and find fascinating as well. We recommend choosing books that they can relate to or point them in the direction of these type of books and let them choose for themselves.

NOTE: To enhance their reading experience or to get reluctant readers to read more come on over to and get storybooks personalized for them to make the reading experience between parent and child even more special.