As children progress through elementary school, reading and literacy expectations become more challenging. While most parents know that daily reading is beneficial to their child and might even be a homework requirement for school, how a child reads also could provide benefits.
Silent reading denotes the act of reading to oneself or reading in the mind; parents might expect a child to silently read as they become more proficient at reading. However, reading aloud helps children, too. In fact, reading aloud has numerous benefits including:
- Helping children hear words and sounds
- Helping children feel more confident
- Working on reading with feeling
- Improving comprehension
- Improving word recognition
How Reading Helps with Phonics and Phonetics
When children read aloud they can hear how the sounds of words are put together. Children might need to sound out a word as they read aloud. They can hear how the letters blend or mix together to create the word.
In the early stages of learning to read, many children might prefer to read aloud. Not only can they hear the words and text, but reading aloud also allows parents and teachers to help them when they stumble on a word or have difficulty.
Reading Aloud Could Boost Confidence
Teachers might ask children to read aloud during class assignments. Reading aloud at home could help children feel more comfortable reading aloud at school.
Again, reading aloud also can help children identify sounds and link the blends to form a word. They can hear themselves sounding out a word, and parents can hear if a child has a struggle. Reading aloud can provide a safe environment to help children learn how to correct mistakes and begin to feel more confident as they read.
Reading Aloud Could Help Children Learn to Emote as They Read
Some books and stories are packed with action, drama or even immense happiness (or sadness). No one wants to hear a book read aloud in a monotone voice without any feeling or emotion.
Reading aloud could help children develop skills to intonate feelings and emotions as they read. As children become more confident with decoding, they can begin to identify the action of the story and perhaps even learn to identify how the characters are feeling.
As they develop more awareness as readers, they can infuse their reading with more emotion and confidence. Children might even begin to use a different voice for specific characters (as adults would).
Reading Aloud Could Help Improve Comprehension
Hearing and seeing text could help to improve a child’s comprehension of what is happening in the story. As a child reads aloud, they not only have to decode the text but they also hear themselves as they read.
Some children understand better if they hear—they are auditory learners. Reading aloud could help children improve their comprehension as they can hear and see the text of the story.
Reading Aloud Also Could Improve Word Recognition
When we hear a word and see a word, we might be more likely to remember it. According to an article published by the Des Moines Public Library, reading aloud can help improve word recognition/memory for adults and kids. The article cited an experiment that showed that “…adults aged 67-88 were almost three times as likely to recall words they read aloud than ones they read silently.”
Parents Should Read Aloud to Children, Too
While parents should listen to their child to read aloud and help them if they have difficulties, there also are benefits for parents continuing to read aloud to children. Many children love hearing stories, and when parents read aloud, children could listen to more difficult books or stories than they are able to read themselves. In addition, these harder books could expose children to new ideas and more words, too.
Reading aloud is beneficial to all ages. In fact, it has been noted that children starting kindergarten whose parents read them five books a day knew more than one million more words than children whose parents didn’t read aloud to them.
Reading aloud is also a great bonding experience for parents and children. Even preteens and teens would enjoy hearing a story read aloud. In fact, even adults enjoy hearing stories which is why audiobooks are incredibly popular.
How to Encourage Children to Read Aloud
Children who struggle with reading or who might just be beginning their reading journey might feel shy about reading aloud. Parents can encourage them by reading aloud to children first and then having children read a page or two in a story (just make sure the book is at a child’s level).
Parents also could encourage children to read poetry. Poems are short and could feel less overwhelming for children to read aloud. There are many poetry books that are written for younger children. These poems can be silly and adventurous and might be written with a whimsical cadence.
Some animal shelters also offer programs where children can read stories to the animals. These programs can help children practice reading aloud without feeling embarrassed or worrying about making a mistake. Animals in the shelter can benefit from the attention and companionship.
Parents can also help children feel comfortable about reading aloud by mirroring the habit. After all, no one is too old to read a story aloud.
Children who love to cook with their parents can be encouraged to read the recipe aloud. Parents can encourage children to read the ingredients and then find the necessary items. Recipes—like poems—are short and less intimidating.
Use a Reading Program for Daily Read Aloud Practice
If children feel shy about reading aloud to parents or if they need extra practice with reading fluency, parents can encourage their child to use a reading program that offers a tutor and that requires the child to read aloud. Readability can be used by children in kindergarten through sixth grade, and the program includes a built-in 24/7 AI reading tutor.
This personalized tutor is programmed with voice-recognition software. When using Readability, children read books in their leveled library aloud. As the child reads, the tutor learns their voice. This means that the tutor can understand when a child mispronounces a word or needs help.
Readability also provides guidance for children who struggle with reading comprehension. At the end of each book, the tutor asks the child questions to gauge their understanding. If the child answers a question incorrectly, the tutor shows them a section from the story that provides clues and the tutor reads the section aloud. The child is then given another opportunity to answer the question.
Through read aloud lessons, Readability encourages children to master decoding, improve their comprehension and gain confidence, too. Children advance through the program and move to higher reading levels as they demonstrate mastery.
Readability also offers a Storytime feature; this feature lets children hear their favorite Readability books read aloud to them. Even if parents don’t have time to read to their child, the Readability Storytime feature gives children constant access to the story time experience.
While children eventually learn to read silently, no one is ever too old to read aloud. Encourage children to read aloud and help them as they read; in addition, parents can read aloud to children, too. Use Readability to give children access to read-aloud lessons to help them boost their confidence and reading proficiency and enjoy listening to stories via the Storytime feature.