by Denise Willms
Most parents know it’s important to read aloud to their young children. Listening to stories helps young children learn and understand language, recognize patterns, and is entertaining. Besides, it’s fun to sit down with your toddler or preschooler on your lap and giggle together over the rhymes in Green Eggs and Ham or repeat the lines in Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Frequently, though, parents stop reading aloud to their children once they can read well on their own. Parents often don’t recognize the value in continuing to read aloud to their children.
However, it’s important to read aloud to older children and teenagers, even once they can read well on their own. Being read to helps older children and teenagers continue to learn and understand language, recognize patterns, and is entertaining.
Build Your Children’s Vocabulary
First of all, reading aloud to older children and teenagers can help improve their vocabulary and writing skills. Choosing to read more advanced books than students would read on their own not only keeps their attention during story time, but it also introduces new vocabulary.
For example, most elementary school children wouldn’t use words such as “scrupulous” and “paltry” in their own writing, but after hearing them used in Pride and Prejudice, they may be willing to try. They’ll also hear and learn more advanced ways to put words and sentences together in their own writing.
Improve Oral Reading Skills
Reading aloud to older children and teenagers can also help improve their own oral reading skills. When you read aloud to older children, read with expression and give the characters unique voices when they speak.
If you’re a woman, it may feel silly to give The Three Musketeers’ D’Artagnan an arrogant male voice, or if you’re a man, equally foolish to give life to Kitty’s exclamations of devotion, but you will certainly keep your listeners’ attention.
Giving each character a unique voice also helps listeners keep track of who is speaking in complex conversations. Most importantly, you will be teaching your children how to use expression in their own reading.
Reading Together Can Become Quality Family Time
If you make story time a regular part of your regular routine, it can become enjoyable family time. When children are older, it’s hard to find time to enjoy being together as a family. Kids are often too busy with homework or their friends to spend time talking to their parents. Story time can become a favorite part of the day that everyone looks forward to.
To keep story time interesting, choose books your listeners will enjoy. If you have a child who is an animal lover, try novels like White Fang, The Call of the Wild, or a book by Farley Mowat. A science fiction lover will enjoy almost anything by Jules Verne.
Story time can also become an opportunity to teach history, discuss issues, and share your values with your children. Children and teenagers can learn about the Civil War in The Red Badge of Courage, racism in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and the French Revolution in The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Celebrate completing a difficult novel by watching the movie or attending the play based on the novel. It may not be the giggles you shared over Green Eggs and Ham, but it’s fun just the same.
Denise Willms is a homeschooling mom of two and owner of an article directory just for moms, WAHM Articles. Submit your best articles for women at WAHM Articles and they’ll be read by hundreds of mothers and home business owners, and could be published in their websites, newsletters and blogs.
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