By Ashley Allgood
As parents we often read aloud to our children. It seems the natural thing to do. I’ve even known some parents to read to their babies while the child was still in the womb. But, what about having your children read aloud to others?
Reading aloud has a lot of benefits. It is a good way to improve or practice speaking, improves vocabulary and pronunciation, encourages bonding between those listening and reading, builds confidence, enhances fluency and develops other important reading skills.
Reading aloud does not have to take up a lot of time. The important thing is to get into the habit of doing it. If this is something your child dreads or doesn’t enjoy doing then shorten the time and do it for shorter sessions a few times throughout the day. You can set a timer if needed or just keep an eye on the clock. Let the reluctant reader pick when they read aloud, maybe after lunch or snack. This will help them feel more in control. You can also let the child choose which book they want to read aloud.
Here are few ways you can encourage your child to read aloud.
- Read to a pet – Children who are shy or a little self conscience about their reading may not want others to hear them reading aloud just yet. So reading to a pet or even a stuffed animal may work well for them.
- Read to someone younger – Some older siblings love reading to their younger siblings. This is a good way for them to bond, and honestly sometimes parents get tired of reading the same story over and over again. Giving your child the responsibility of reading to a toddler before naptime may be a relief to busy parents and at the same time improve a struggling reader’s reading skills.
- Read to Grandma and Granddad – Have your child share their favorite book with Grandma. My oldest daughter bonded with her great grandmother over an old book called The Dutch Twins. We found the book online and used it for geography lessons. While visiting my grandma we discovered she had loved this book when she was little. I still have the sweet mental picture of them sitting together on the sofa and reading the book together.
- Read together – A family book club – Take turns reading. Your child reads a page, then you read a page. You can also involve your other kids and pass the book around as you all read aloud. You can turn this into a family book club. You meet at a set time, read, and then discuss. If the book was made into a movie, then celebrate finishing the book by watching the movie together.
- Devotion time – Some of you may work devotion time into your homeschooling, if so then take turns reading the devotion aloud. I have seen some special devotion books for parents and kids to do together like a mother-daughter devotion. You can take turns reading and discussing what you learn from it.
- Cook together – Some kids love helping mom in the kitchen. It can test your patience, but it can also be a time for reading. Put your child in charge of reading the recipe to you. Be sure to have a copy yourself or look at it to make sure your child is calling out the instructions correctly. Combining cooking and reading will help build your child’s confidence in both areas.
- Board games – Reading instructions or cards that go with a board game is a fun away to trick your child into reading aloud. Let your child teach you how to play.
Two of my children struggled with learning how to read and reading aloud was always a battle. I also had two kids who struggled with their speech. Reading aloud helped a lot but it took creativity and patience to get them to do it. I hope these suggestions will help and encourage others.
Ashley Allgood is a Christian wife married twenty-two years to Michael. They have three children ages 20, 17, and 15. They live in Georgia where they homeschool their youngest two children. Ashley is a distributor for Young Living oils. She has always loved writing and storytelling. Read her blog, Thoughts Of Faith, at http://mythoughtsoffaith.blogspot.com.