For many families, reading aloud to children is a much-loved part of the bedtime routine. But how long do you continue to read aloud to children? Once they become competent readers and start to enjoy reading independently, it’s natural to assume that we don’t need to read aloud as often.
While there is a time and place for your son to be reading on his own, there are many benefits of reading aloud to children of all ages. In fact, some argue that reading aloud to children well into their late teens can have a positive impact on literacy as well as many other benefits.
Research conducted by Scholastic Australia into Australian families’ attitudes and behaviours toward reading, found that parents who acted as reading role models was particularly crucial for older children. Further, for children of all ages, it was discovered that reading aloud to them is a powerful predictor of strong reading frequency and enjoyment.
Despite this, the study found there is a decline in reading aloud to children as they grew older. One in five parents of children aged six to 17 stopped reading aloud to their child before age nine, most often citing reasons related to their child being able to read independently.
Strengthening family bonds and establishing a close connection with your children is undoubtedly one of the most significant benefits of reading together. When reading aloud to infants, it is recommended that adults maintain touch with their child in order to form a loving and positive connection that can be linked to reading. Creating opportunities to form a strong emotional connection with children is important for children of any age. Reading is a great avenue to achieve this.
In the Scholastic study, the overwhelming majority (86 percent) of children aged six to 17 said they enjoyed being read to at home. Interestingly, the top reason for this was because it is seen as a special time with their parents.
As children enter their teenage years, you can start to read more challenging material together and expand reading time to include discussion and debate about issues of morality, philosophy and history. Reading together can also help children to navigate their feelings and enhance emotional intelligence. It may just be the key to getting your teen to open up about issues that may be concerning him!
No matter what age your child is, when reading aloud it is recommended that you select books that are beyond his own reading level. This will help to improve vocabulary and literacy skills as he follows your language, expression and the text. It also gives you the opportunity to discuss the story and work through any areas that he may not have understood.
We uncover four benefits of reading aloud to children of all ages.
1. Promotes academic success
The more you read to your son, the more knowledge he absorbs. Continuing to read aloud to children of any age ensures they are constantly being challenged by their reading and promotes a growth mindset.
Research tells us that shared reading experiences are highly beneficial for young people. Some of these benefits include greater exposure to language, improved listening skills, higher reading comprehension and more established literacy skills. Reading aloud is also beneficial for their cognitive development, as parent-child reading experiences activate brain areas related to narrative comprehension and mental imagery.
2. Inspires reading enjoyment
Reading aloud creates a shared experience between you and your son and allows the unique opportunity to foster positive attitudes toward reading. Young people’s attitudes towards reading are developed at home, and when you make reading fun and create enjoyable experiences, you help turn your children into life-long readers.
3. Grows vocabulary
Being read to creates an environment where children can continue to develop their vocabulary. Reading aloud enables parents to teach children how to pronounce certain words and allows children an opportunity to ask about the meaning of different words.
4. Creates opportunities to connect as a family
Reading together allows you to continue to create shared family experiences. By reading together, you have the opportunity to discuss a book, its takeaways and teach your son life lessons through its characters. Reading together allows you to create new traditions with your children that they will remember for years to come – all while having a lot of fun along the way!
In all things, parents are a child’s most significant role model. To establish healthy reading habits, it’s important that children see their parents reading for pleasure and have opportunities to read together.
At Trinity, we celebrate families and all they do for their children and the community. We believe in working collaboratively with parents and students in a supportive Christian environment to ensure our boys realise their full potential, embrace their passions and find their life’s purpose.
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