Stacey Loscalzo

Jan 14

Reading Aloud is Important

by Stacey

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Reading aloud to and with the girls is pretty much my favorite thing to do. For years, we all read together multiple times a day. When the girls were tiny, we’d pass hours working our way through big canvas bags of picture books that I collected at the library. As they grew, our read aloud rhythms have shifted but read aloud is always a part of every day.

There are certainly periods of time when we read more and then others when we read less. Right now with the short, dark days and super cold temperatures, we seem to be in a phase of lots of read aloud time. Caroline leaves for school almost an hour before Katherine, so we are able to sneak in picture books in the morning when things are quiet. And then in the evenings, if everyone has finished their reading for school, we are all reading aloud together again. We had stopped doing this for a long time. Caroline was reading a lot on her own so I was reading aloud to Katherine after she read to herself. And then, enter The World According to Humphrey, our first ever all school read aloud. We had read a few of the Humphrey books together a few years ago after Caroline’s fourth grade teacher read them to the class and we were glad to have Humphrey back.

And the best part of the Humphrey read aloud? Caroline does the reading. I love to read aloud but who doesn’t love to be read to? As the mom, this doesn’t happen very much so it is a treat. We tried to swap roles once but truth be told, Caroline does an awesome Humphrey voice and mine is pretty sad. So a tradition was born.

While I know that reading aloud is fun and educationally, super important, I always love when a new study comes out to support reading aloud. I especially love it when the study supports reading aloud to and with older kids. Parents do a great job of reading to their little guys; it’s just natural. The real work comes once the kids can read on their own.

Since 2006, the folks at Scholastic have commissioned a study to research reading habits titled “The Kids and Family Reading Report”. If you are a read-aloud geek like me, please click through and read the whole report. It is super, super interesting. If this doesn’t sound super, super interesting to you, then stick around here because I am going to be talking about a lot of different pieces from this report.

There are many critical findings in the report but one of the simplest is the link between being read aloud to and a love of reading independently. The study found that..

“Reading aloud through elementary school seemed to be connected to a love of reading generally. According to the report, 41 percent of frequent readers ages 6 to 10 were read aloud to at home, while only 13 percent of infrequent readers were being read to.”

There is always lots of debate about how reading is taught in the schools and there is certainly a lot I have to say on that subject but as parents, the home is where we get to make the decisions. For me, the Scholastic reports gives me at least one task that I can easily complete. If I want to continue my girls down the reading path, I need to keep reading aloud.

I think I can do that. More to come on reading aloud in general and The Kid and Family Reading Report specifically.

13 Comments

  1. Dana says:

    I am a huge fan of reading to my kids. Lately we’ve been loving the Clementine series by the clever as often hilarious Sara Pennybaker. My daughter is 6.5 in first grade and she much prefers us reading to her over reading herself (she is a beginner reader for the most part). I struggle with encouraging her to complete her 20 minutes of reading (herself) a day because I don’t want to push her so hard that it removes the joy. Any advice? 

    Also would love any suggestions on great read aloud books for her her group. We’ve torn through Ivy and Bean as well as The Cobblestone Cousins. 

    Thanks Stacey!

    • Stacey says:

      Hi Dana! I totally agree with not pushing the independent reading. I think it is so much more important for kids to love reading at your daughter’s age than it is for them to read to themselves. When my girls were that age, I would often ‘exaggerate’ a bit on the reading logs and make up for the time by reading aloud We love Clementine. She is one of our all time favorite read alouds. We also adored The Cobblestreet Cousins. Our other most favorite is The Penderwick series. Your daughter might still be a tad young but it might still be worth a try- they are just great books! Some others that we have loved include Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry, Marty McGuire by Kate Messner, Ramona Quimby by Beverly Cleary, The World According to Humphrey by Betty Birney and Pippi Longstocking with Lauren Child’s illustrations. I’d love to hear what you all read next!

  2. Kristen says:

    YES to all of this! We still read aloud to her every day and it has so many benefits (including, extra snuggling warmth in winter!). I have to say I was surprisingly miffed the other day when she wanted to finish a mystery we’d started together by reading the last chapters to herself! Totally unexpected. She said I can find out “who did it” by reading it myself afterwards. Hmph!

  3. Tamara says:

    I found it interesting that my friend still reads to her 11-year-old! He can read just fine but he still loves to snuggle up and hear the same voice that has been reading to him for 11 years.

  4. This post comes at the right time, Stacey. My daughter and I are reading Harry Potter together. I love hearing her enunciate the words she doesn’t know and helping her through it. 

    • Stacey says:

      I love Harry Potter! Unfortunately, neither of my girls have loved the books- I still have hopes of converting my youngest 🙂

  5. Andrea says:

    I love this! I’ve always read out loud to my kids (sometimes I think it’s the only thing I’ve done right as a parent), but when my oldest son was in second grade and had begun the dreaded daily Reading Log, he started reading almost exclusively on his own, while I continued to read to his younger brothers (who are 4 years younger, so there wasn’t much overlap in reading interest at the time). I felt like we lost so much in losing that reading time together–a bonding and closeness that we had always found in reading together. I refused to quit reading to the brothers when they reached Reading Log age and was very happy when I started reading them the Harry Potter series and big brother would turn up to listen in as well, even though he’d read them all before. Now, at 13, he still sometimes joins his brothers and me when we read each evening. 

    • Stacey says:

      I love hearing stories like this! I do think there seems to be a natural pause when the oldest are just reading independently but I love the fact that they tend to creep back in to family read aloud time. It really is my favorite part of the day, every day. 

  6. I love it that your daughter does some of the reading aloud! Are you familiar with the Read-Aloud Revival podcast? I have been devouring it these past few months. It is so inspiring and resonates deeply with my desire to continue a read-aloud tradition with my family, even as my kids become independent readers.

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