Reading Aloud…It Works For Older Kids, Too!

We’ve heard it a thousand times before. “I don’t need to read aloud to my kid anymore. He’s reading independently.” Parents puff out their chests and, understandably, exude pride about their child’s ability to read books without an adult’s help. Once children reach age 6 and beyond, parents start to read less and less to their child, leaving them to read independently almost exclusively.

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According to a recent study at Oxford University, “around two-thirds of six year olds enjoy bedtime stories or other recreational reading with an adult. But that plummets to 44 per cent among children who are just a year older as mothers and fathers assume their help is no longer needed.” (Source) Sound familiar?

What implications does this have? The study especially pointed to kids primarilyreading for school or alone, and not enjoying reading as much. Children who continued to read with their parents found reading to be more enjoyable, and avoided being “reluctant readers” in general. Reading aloud with kids is fun! Even if you’re only reading for fifteen minutes per day with your child, this can show her how enjoyable reading a wonderful book can be.

Extending reading into the home, with parents or loved ones, throughout elementary school improves students’ performance in the long run. Surely there are many, but here we are offering 3 tips for reading aloud with independent readers. Have more to share? Please comment here or visit our vibrant community!

  1. Take turns reading with your child.Whether it’s page by page or chapter by chapter, take turns reading aloud with your child. After each section, spend time discussing what happened and exploring the themes of the book in a fun, enjoyable conversation with your child.
  2. Read books that are above your child’s reading level.Yep, that’s right! According to Jim Trelease, a read aloud guru, most kids are prepared to listen at a much higher level than they can read. Maybe your child is in second grade. Pick out a book at a fifth grade reading level, and work with your child to continue building those more advanced listening skills (and vocabulary, too)!
  3. Read books that will surprise and delight your child. Go off of the beaten path from school and books your child will likely read without you. As Trelease says, “find books that will blow your mind,” and give your child a window into entirely different worlds than their own. This gives you a great way to build meaningful conversations and to explore together.

Above all, remember that you are the advertisement for reading outside of school. Model how fun and enjoyable reading can be, both reading your own books and reading aloud with your kid. As any book lover knows…once you’re hooked on reading, there is no turning back!