The one main take home message I gained from having a stall at our community fair the other month came from discussions with parents as they looked at my books. I realised that parents still don't understand the importance of reading aloud to their child no matter the age. This has also been confirmed during my days working in the gift shop at Cullen Bay Darwin and selling my books during the book launch there as well. "What age is this book appropriate for?
"My child is only in kindergarten, she can't read that herself yet."
Time and time again it has become obvious that parents are still not getting the importance of shared reading aloud with their children.
Teachers can only do so much in the classroom when it comes to teaching reading, the fundamental building blocks of language have to be established in the family home. Reading together from birth stimulates the brain and enables significant connections to be made that develop the foundations for literacy.
Reading out loud to a child during the early pre-school years not only gives you a wonderful opportunity to snuggle with your children and show them how much you love them, it also allows you time to demonstrate a number of pre-reading language skills.
Picture books like "Emma the Eager Emu" provide a wealth of opportunities. 1. You model reading with great enthusiasm and expression. 2. Reading alliteration helps teach that language is made up of individual sounds not just words and syllables. 3. Repetition increases familiarity and produces opportunities for guessing what might happen next? 4. Vibrant illustrations allow for discussions and further language learning. 5. The more often you read, the more they will make the pre-reading connections such as which way up the book should be, front to back, words flow left to right and top to bottom to tell the story. 6. They will also realise the significance of the pictures in the story telling too. A picture truly can be worth a thousand words. 7. Increases empathy and understanding of the world around them. 8. Extends their vocabulary.
Once children reach that early independent reading level, parents seem to think their child needs to do it all alone. This couldn't be further from the truth.
Books like Gingerbread Aliens and Alien Shenanigans might be early independent chapter books but they are still excellent resources for sharing reading out loud together. Your 6 - 10 year old still needs you! 1. They still need to hear modeled reading out loud for expression. 2. It can be fun to share a humorous chapter book with your child. 3. It opens opportunities for discussion when you read together. 4. It provides opportunities to discuss any words they may have difficulty reading or understanding. 5. You can determine through questions whether they have comprehended what they have read. 6. If you read a book just above their level of ability, you extend their comprehension and vocabulary. 7. It builds wonderful memories of special time spent together reading and sharing no matter their age.
If you enjoyed reading this post and are interested in joining a discussion on helping parents, grandparents and other carers with encouraging children to read, please come and join us in my new group forum Raising Awesome Readers https://www.facebook.com/groups/847306541974020/?pnref=story. I'd be happy to see you there, I look forward to more people becoming involved in our chats and spreading the word on the importance of reading aloud.
How often do you read aloud with your child? What are you doing to build fond memories with them no matter what their age? What are you reading with them to help expand their vocabulary?