Read aloud to establish a love of books

Oct 23, 2017

To the Editor:

Reading is a skill—the more you practice it the better you become.

Jim Trelease highlights the many aspects of reading in his book "The Read Aloud Handbook." Many people do not fully understand the benefits of reading aloud. Reading aloud is proven to help children pass standardized tests. Imagine having the power to help your child get into college just by taking the time to read aloud to them.

Besides helping with standardized tests, reading aloud improves vocabulary and helps build children's phonemic awareness and skills. This overall helps you become a better educated person. Also, reading aloud to a child at a young age can help to build a relationship with them.

Reading aloud to your child for 15 minutes a day makes all the difference. Everyone’s life can get hectic and crazy, but setting aside 15 minutes every day can and should be a priority for something as crucial as getting into college. Reading aloud anything, including magazines or comic books, helps.

A common misconception is that you can start reading aloud too early. Even reading to your child while they are still developing in utero can be beneficial. Starting a routine of reading aloud early on will also help you to commit to it. If you set aside 15 minutes every day starting before the child is born, by the time they are two years old it will be a habit.

A tip to help with this is the "three B’s" which stands for books, basket, and bed lamp. Books refers to having an ample supply of books available. A bed lamp means that the child can stay up later and be read aloud to in bed. Baskets refers to keeping baskets of books in the bathroom and at the breakfast table so they are always available to help pass time in a constructive way.

Trelease wrote about a survey of children where it was found out that in fourth grade, 54 percent of the students read for pleasure. Only 30 percent of eighth graders polled read for pleasure, and then by 12th grade, only 19 percent enjoyed reading. That number should never be that low!

Reading aloud is such a rich learning experience that needs to be encouraged more. It can do no harm, so why not? Read aloud to your children, neighbors, nieces, nephews; read to them all because it will only help.


Zoe Smith