Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reading Aloud to Kids: The 12 Benefits of Reading Books Out Loud to Children of All Ages

Reading aloud to children is one of the most important things you can do to ensure their future success, and more and more Americans seem to be jumping on the read-aloud bandwagon. While only 78 percent of families read to their pre-kindergarten-aged children frequently (three or more times a week) in 1993, this increased to 86 percent in 2005, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
read to your kids
It's never too early to start reading to your kids. Experts recommend starting as soon as they're born.
Kids of all ages (and adults, too) benefit from being read to, including even babies and toddlers.
"Children are never too young to have stories read to them," says Nancy Verhoek-Miller, a specialist in early childhood education at Mississippi State University.
The benefits are so profound, and kids form so much of their intelligence potential during the early years of their life, that experts recommend reading aloud to your child as soon as he or she is born, and continuing indefinitely.
Why Read to Your Kids? Here are 12 Important Reasons
"The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children," a Commission on Reading report found.
In fact, reading is so important that a non-profit group called Read Aloud America is traveling to different schools to promote literacy, encourage a love of reading in adults and children, and increase children's prospects for success in school and life.
reading to your kids
Not only will reading to your child help him develop language and listening skills, and a sense of curiosity, but it will help to strengthen the bond you share as well.
Their Read Aloud Program (RAP) brings together kids and families at host schools to stimulate their interest in reading, decrease television viewing, increase family time spent in reading activities, and connect the values of good books to everyday life. Although the program is currently only offered in Hawaii, you can gain the same benefits from reading to your kids at home.
Here are 12 of the key reasons to start (or continue) reading aloud to your kids today.
  1. Build a lifelong interest in reading. "Getting kids actively involved in the process of reading, and having them interact with adults, is key to a lifelong interest in reading," said BeAnn Younker, principal at Battle Ground Middle School in Indiana.
  2. Children whose parents read to them tend to become better readers and perform better in school, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
  3. Reading to kids helps them with language and speech development.
  4. It expands kids' vocabulary and teaches children how to pronounce new words.
  5. Reading to toddlers prepares them for school, during which they will need to listen to what is being said to them (similar to what they do while being read to).
  6. Reading to older kids helps them understand grammar and correct sentence structure.
  7. Kids and parents can use reading time as bonding time. It's an excellent opportunity for one-on-one communication, and it gives kids the attention they crave.
  8. Being read to builds children's attention spans and helps them hone their listening skills.
  9. Curiosity, creativity and imagination are all developed while being read to.
  10. Being read to helps kids learn how to express themselves clearly and confidently.
  11. Kids learn appropriate behavior when they're read to, and are exposed to new situations, making them more prepared when they encounter these situations in real life.
  12. When read to, children are able to experience the rhythm and melody of language even before they can understand the spoken or printed word.
More on reading aloud at article by
    Top Recommended Read-Aloud Books
    Want to read aloud with your kids but not sure what to read? Here are some of the top picks out there for kids of all ages.
    Treasure Hunt Toddlers
    Treasure Hunt by Allan Ahlberg
    Young readers can play along as little Tilly plays treasure-hunting games with her parents.
    Night of the Moonjellies Kindergarten/1st Grade
    Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasha
    A picture book that describes a child's summer day in New England.
    Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2nd/3rd Grade
    Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett In the town of ChewandSwallow, breakfast, lunch and dinner rain down from the sky ... but then things start to get messy.
    Stand Tall 4th/5th Grade
    Stand Tall by Joan Bauer
    Tree is 12 years old and already 6 foot, 3 inches tall, but it's his parents' divorce, not his height, that makes his life really complicated.
    The Tiger Rising 6th -- 8th Grade
    The Tiger Rising by Kate Dicamillo
    Rob has just lost his mother, and moved to a new town with his father, when he discovers a caged tiger in the woods. The find ends up opening many doors for the grief-stricken boy in this emotional and symbolic story.
    Watership Down 9th -- 12th Grade
    Watership Down by Richard Adams
    An epic tale that follows a warren of Berkshire rabbits fleeing the destruction of their home by a land developer.

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