In one of my earlier posts, I placed the most important tips to successfully reading aloud to your kids and discussed as well.
However, to be a caring parent you need to follow or maintain certain dos and don’ts of reading aloud to your young ones. Today in this post I will discuss ten the most important, practical and relevant points that we all must keep an eye on while reading to our kids.
But, before I begin, let me sum up why reading aloud to our children is important. Lacking the proper vocabulary and lagging behind in communicative skills among children have taken the shape of a common problem these days. Reading out loud to your kids can be a magic pill that can have tremendous benefits to a child’s mind and character. You can visit here to know more.
The most popular book you can have with all your queries solved in this regard is “The Read-Aloud Handbook” by Jim Trelease, Amazon. The book contains discussions on all the issues needed in this connection such as benefits and importance of reading aloud to children of the present generation, short stories and materials for reading, reports of the latest studies, Dos and Don’ts and much more.
Now let’s come to the point.
The best Dos of reading aloud are:
First: Try to allow a daily schedule for reading to your child. Although it’s not necessary to maintain a daily routine for the task, enough time should be given to let your child enjoy the reading. My personal opinion is the frequent they read the fluent they are in reading.
Second: Regardless of the age of your child reading aloud should be taken in hand the moment you realize it. The earlier you begin the better and easier it is for your young ones to grab the skill.
Third: Choose the right texts or books that suit the need for the entertainment of your child or those that make them respond with questions and discussions. You can consider beginning with fewer words than pictures on page books like Journey, Quest, Chalk and gradually move on to the vice versa. Books with illustrative pictures and cartoons, clear story and plot, lively characters with vivid and simple language with catchy dialogues are available easily.
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Fourth: Telling about the author or the poet before you begin to read is highly recommended. More and more information to introduce the author and the book lets your listeners feel interested about the matter even before you begin reading it to them.
Fifth: Consider using rhymes books and songbooks to make your reading attractive to your children and thereby kindle their desire for more. To make this experience effective you need to read or recite or play or sing the song with proper as well as required expression in your voice and tone.
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Sixth: Play repeat reading of books and include more and more alike materials as they grow up. While repeat reading play guessing games like pausing at different words or phrases and letting your listeners guess them. Such a practice would stimulate their memorizing skills and increase their vocabulary as well.
Seventh: Challenge their minds by occasionally reading materials above their level of intellect. By doing so you would enable them to go deeper into the subject matter which would stimulate their cognitive activities. But refrain from doing this very often or too much.
Eighth: Find a place where you can read aloud to your kids with ease and peace. Let them feel comfortable enough to enjoy the reading. This would let them concentrate on what is going on and increase their attention level and span.
Ninth: Increase their involvement in the reading-listening process by urging the listeners to interact with the reader by reading aloud with required voice effect and tone. Make them ask questions about the plot and relate to the storyline. Conversing with them regarding the topic could be a good option. This would boost their communicative and interpersonal skills.
Tenth: Remember that you are not reading just for yourself but for someone else, your child. So, try to do it patiently and slowly. Let your listener have the time to imagine and visualize the story by looking at the pictures in it. I always hold the pages with pictures and graphics out to them while reading aloud. Allow them to feel the plot and make them feel living in it.
Eleventh: Again if you don’t have time to complete a story or a text in a single session, you should consider stopping at a spot that is capable of creating suspense among the listeners. Such a strategy would make them curious about what happens next and wait for the next session of reading.
Twelfth: The most important thing for the above one to work is that you will need to have that particular book for a preview before you read it aloud to your kids. By doing so you will know beforehand which part or the passage of the story or the text is to be omitted, edited, shortened or you need to discuss in detail on it.
Thirteenth: As we know comprehension is necessary for brain work, make sure to keep a separate session for discussion or interactions with questions and answers at the end of each reading. Such exercises are recommended to evaluate the cognitive progress of the listeners.
Fourteenth: To encourage and increase reading practices older children can be asked occasionally to read to younger ones. Such practice would induce self-confidence in them but doing it frequently would lose their interest as well as your importance.
Now let me include what not to do (Don’ts) while reading to your young ones:
First: Don’t consider reading stories or books which you haven’t enjoyed yourself. Your children know you very well and would easily detect your lack of interest in the matter resulting in the ultimate failure of the task.
Second: I won’t recommend you to start reading a story or a book if you are lacking enough time to complete it. Hanging out with a story for a couple of days might lead children to lose their interest in it. Manage your time to have discussions, answer their questions on the story or the text.
Third: Don’t let your child spend excessive time watching TV. Restrict the amount of time spent on entertainment and channelize it to grow a reading habit. Although there are TV programmes providing much knowledge and education as well, reading a good story can also provide entertainment better than the shows on the TV set at your home.
Fourth: Stories or texts with long descriptive passages or rich in dialogues should be avoided at a beginning stage. It might end up making children feel bored or discouraged. Rather, let them flourish on their own until their level of imagination is capable enough of taking it.
Fifth: Refrain from just placing your opinions, thoughts and imposing them on your listeners. They are your listeners. Let them judge and make/form their own opinions about the story you just read.
Sixth: Don’t consider reading above your listeners” intellectual and emotional level. Your selection of books should match the emotional level of the children you will be reading to.
Seventh: While you continue reading aloud your child would learn and start reading on his or her own at a certain point. I won’t recommend you to stop reading to your child at that point. He or she would still need practices for it takes time to match reading with the listening skill.
Eighth: Your selection of the matter is very important in order to grab your listeners” interest. Don’t select a story or a book much commonly seen or heard on TV shows. Children would feel bored or lose their interest to listen to a known story or fact.
Ninth: Quantity and quality are different things. Don’t be confused. Reading for a couple of minutes with rapt attention can have far-reaching effects on your kid’s mind than an hour of watching TV alone.
Tenth: Don’t be fond of award-winning books. An award-winning book does not guarantee that it would give you a good read-aloud experience. Rather, it has won the award probably because of the writing expertise of its author.
Eleventh: Comfort is necessary for the concentration of both the reader and the listener. But don’t get so comfortable that your listeners feel drowsy. Avoid a reclining or leaning position during reading or listening.
Twelfth: Last but not the least, don’t think that you need to have all the books and materials that you had or learned included in your class if you are before your students. Does this make sense to connect the curriculum of an elementary class to the broader aspect of literature?
Bye for now and have a good time.
The article is inspired by The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease (7th edition)
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