The Importance of Reading Aloud
Reading to your children has a multitude of benefits. Some of the many benefits include bonding together, stimulating their imagination, teaching life lessons through stories, fostering their emotional and social development, helping their cognitive and language development. I loved being read to as a child and I enjoy reading to my children.
My Younger Children Didn’t Enjoy Read Aloud Time
I have three children. My firstborn has always loved being read to. We’ve read numerous books together and I’ve even read several chapter books to him. I assumed that it would be the same for my other two children but I was wrong. Whenever I try to read they ask me to stop. Sometimes they refuse to look at the book. It frustrated me for a while but I’ve figured out how to help them love books and read-a-loud time.
7 Tips to Help Your Enjoy Read Aloud Time
- Let them pick out their own books. We visit the library weekly and the children pick out a big stack of their own books. They get so excited to look at them when we come home. They always beg me to read them as soon we come home. Most of the time they select a book related to their favorite show or movie. Other times they select nonfiction books about animals.
- Explore encyclopedias and discuss the facts with them. My children enjoy browsing encyclopedias and looking at the different images. They usually have a lot of questions while looking at the images. I’ll read the facts and descriptions for them. Then they’ll end up asking me to read more of the book.
- Try reading more interactive books or think of ways to make regular books interactive. Interactive books are always fun. We have a variety of interactive books from lif-a-flap, finger puppet books, to books with different textures. They especially love the finger puppet book. https://amzn.to/3unY6iB Sometimes I’ll make regular books interactive by asking the kids to touch an illustration and make a sound.
- Read to them while they are busy building blocks, legos, or playing with clay. I can usually get my children to listen to me read if they are playing with their blocks, legos, or clay. They may not be sitting and focused on the picture 100% but they know what’s going on. I used to think that they were not paying attention to me but one day my son asked me to read more. Some children just do better when they are working with their hands. I usually read my oldest son chapter books during this time.
- Try different genres. My oldest son loved non-fiction and my middle child loved science fiction. My daughter enjoys fantasy books. Going to the library and letting them pick out their own books has helped me learn what genre they enjoy.
- Pick out books from characters they like. My younger two children love books based around characters from movies or shows. My daughter enjoys Fancy Nancy and Barbie. My youngest son enjoys Star Wars. They always beg me to read them any book related to their favorite characters. Sometimes parents are eager to have their child read a certain type of book. I believe that if we discourage that then it may crush their future love of reading.
- Try audiobooks or e-books. Sometimes while my kids are playing, I’ll turn on an audiobook on my Alexa device. Other times we will try reading e-books. Lately, we have been enjoying the books on Khan Academy.
I used to look at staged images of mothers reading aloud in the morning on Instagram and I become disappointed that it didn’t work out that way for us. I wasn’t being realistic for several reasons.
- Social media staged photos are not real.
- Small children need movement.
- The books that I was picking out were not very interesting at the time.
My advice is to be consistent and creative. Don’t give up even if it seems like the children are not paying attention. Children enjoy reading in different ways sometimes.