Have you ever considered the importance of read-alouds? Do you remember that special book you wanted your parents to read aloud to you over and over when you were growing up? Do your kiddos have a book they constantly want you to read to them? Is there a book you own that is absolutely worn, tattered, or maybe even falling apart?
Books have an amazing transformative power, and it’s that power that we are drawn to as we listen to read-alouds. Somehow when the words are spoken out loud, the influence of the story grows exponentially!
Why is that?
Well, let’s look at some of things that reflect the importance of read-alouds.
The Importance of Read-Alouds
1. They Help Us Create & Remember Special Moments
I was very blessed growing up to have parents who read books to me, and my brother, every day. We had this one red Bible Storybook that my dad read to us every night before bed. I still have it, and I’ve read those same Bible Stories to my own kids.
That red book is priceless to me because of the memories I made with my family while reading this book. Honestly, I cannot stress enough the importance of reading to your children. The bond that is created over enjoyable books cannot be duplicated any other way!
I also remember my 3rd grade, my teacher, Mrs. Ingraham, would read out loud to us every day for a few minutes before school let out. The Trumpet of the Swan and Island of the Blue Dolphins were two of the stories I vividly recall her reading to us! I would always look forward to what was going to be happening next in our story.
On an unrelated, but interesting note, Mrs. Ingraham wore LOTS of jewelry every day. I can remember staring at her manicured nails and fabulous jewelry while she read; I think that’s one of the enjoyed listening to her read. Of course, this was second to the fact that I was engaged in the story.
But, I digress…
Those early experiences with read-alouds truly set the stage for my interest-turned-love of reading and learning.
2. They are for all ages
Have you ever listened to an audiobook? I have, and when I’m listening to one, I am hypnotized by the sound of the reader’s voice as I become immersed in the story.
Does that sound familiar? Well, believe it or not, every time we listen to an audiobook, we are experiencing a read-aloud. And, there is some really interesting research on the benefits of reading aloud for adults!
It may seem odd to think that we, as adults, would enjoy having another person read out loud to us, but it’s true. Somehow, it’s soothing and relaxing to experience a book through our ears and not just our eyes.
Children are no different!
Even though my boys are in middle school, I continue to read out loud to them and they love it. Whenever I get to the end of the chapter or section I am reading, they beg me to keep reading. Thus, the importance of read-alouds!!
3. They are engaging
Read-alouds in the classroom were always times I could count on “relatively” good behavior. Everyone, including the stinkers, became entranced by the story. Therefore, the typical classroom distractions became null because every child was immersed in the story.
The importance of read-alouds for my kiddos was knowing they didn’t have any “reading rules” to contend with. They didn’t have to think about pronunciation, enunciation, inflection, spelling rules, context, and vocabulary; none of those skills mattered more than simply listening and being present.
As a classroom teacher, you might be thinking, “That sounds so amazing! I would love to read aloud more in my classroom, but I just don’t have time!”
I totally understand.
Most days, I didn’t have much time either. But, I discovered some fun alternatives to the traditional teacher read-aloud that permitted me to incorporate read-alouds in a new way a bit more often.
Alternatives to Traditional Read-Alouds
My kiddos loved partner read-alouds. They learned so much by hearing other kiddos use appropriate tone and expression when reading out loud.
In the classroom, I liked to strategically partner up struggling readers with more advanced readers. This allowed my struggling readers the opportunity to hear the text read fluently by someone other then me.
To keep things interesting for my kiddos, I would occasionally allow them to choose their partners. However, from a classroom management standpoint, I had to monitor this closely…as you can imagine.
To eliminate certain discipline issues, partner reading was managed using the same steps every time. Partners were given their books or stories, and then they were sent to their assigned reading spots.
They would sit in EEKK formation (elbow to elbow and knee to knee), and read at a volume only the partner could hear. If I heard a voice or voices getting too loud, I would simply call out to the reader(s), and they would bring the volume back down to a manageable level.
A slightly different option would be for parents to read with their children. Now, this may sound exactly like the typical read-aloud, but the difference lies in the fact that the child is the leading reader. In other words, the child begins reading the story out loud, and when he gets to the end of the page, it is the parent’s turn.
Another option would be to for parents and children to take on the roles of the characters in the story. This would certainly be a more interactive way to read the text. We used this strategy a lot when my boys were in school and would bring home their basal readers. They would get bored reading the same story every night, so sometimes we would change it up by reading different parts. This kept them from hating reading.
As classroom teachers, this would be something you could share with your parents during Open House as an alternative to simply listening to their children read. As homeschooling parents, we could do this with our kiddos or let siblings read together.
I know that sometimes, unfortunately, time seems to slip away, and we can’t find the time to read out loud. Just remember that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate read-alouds into your daily routine; it just means you might have to get creative, and try a few alternative approaches to reading aloud!
So, what is the importance of read-clouds? Incorporating these reading aloud activities will…
- Allow us to make memories with our kiddos similar to the memories we recall with our own parents and special teachers.
- Bring enjoyment to all ages by simply making time to read out loud.
- Engage our kiddos in learning just by reading to them.
You are amazing and I am cheering for you!