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6 Great Reasons to Read Aloud to Your Kids

6 Great Reasons to Read Aloud to Your Kids - All About Reading

Reading aloud to your child is one of the most important things you can do to promote his or her future reading ability. Whether you choose a book from your child’s bookshelf or one from your local library, sharing this special read-aloud time with your child is beneficial in numerous ways.

Some of my earliest memories are of my mom reading aloud to me and my siblings. We would all gather around her—two leaning against her on the couch, and the third on the floor at her feet. I loved listening to my mother read aloud! She did it often, and even let us put off doing chores if we were reading a book. There was a strong culture of reading in our home.

But reading aloud isn’t just a source of great memories.

Reading aloud to your child is one of the most important things you can do to promote his or her future reading ability. Whether you choose a book from your child’s bookshelf or one from your local library, sharing this special read-aloud time with your child will benefit him in numerous ways.

6 Reasons to Read Aloud to Your Kids

There are six really great reasons why you should read aloud to your children. After reading these reasons, I’m hoping you’ll pick up a book and start reading aloud on a regular basis.

1. Reading aloud to children creates a lifetime interest in reading.

If you start reading to your children while they are young, they will be much more likely to grow into the habit of reading. When they associate reading with happy memories, they are more likely to persist in learning to read, even when they run into occasional roadblocks in the process of learning to read.

2. Reading to young children extends their attention spans.

Don’t overdo it at first. You might need to start with just ten minutes of read-aloud time, and gradually extend the time until your child is able to maintain full attention for longer periods of time. A longer attention span will help a child perform better both in school subjects and in real-life projects.

6 Great Reasons to Read Aloud to your Kids - All About Reading

3. Reading aloud to children aids in language development.

As children listen to you read, they assimilate strong language skills. They pick up correct word pronunciation, word usage, and proper grammar. Their working vocabulary increases, and they internalize correct sentence structure. All these skills will eventually transfer to their own speaking and writing. Improper grammar will begin to sound wrong to them, and they will be more likely to choose good grammar when they communicate.

4. As you read aloud, the power of a child’s imagination is strengthened.

As you read to your children, they visualize the book’s events in their minds. Through the pages of a book, children are able to experience events and situations that are outside of their own personal experiences. They can picture life in other parts of the world and in other cultures. Children who have been read to are usually more adept at creating stories from their own imaginations.

6 Great Reasons to Read Aloud to Your Child - All About Reading

5. Reading aloud helps build a child’s comprehension.

As you read and discuss books together, your child increases his problem-solving abilities and gains insight into characters’ motives. Discussing a book as you read helps teach a child how to make good predictions. As you read aloud, you can fill in missing background information that helps a child better understand the book’s setting, historical background, and characters—details that might be missed if a child reads a book on his own. Reading aloud also gives you the opportunity to emphasize important character traits as you read. Point out examples of compassion, kindness, perseverance, and optimism, then take a moment to discuss these traits with your children.

6. Last, but certainly not least, read-aloud time is great one-on-one bonding time.

Reading aloud is a wonderful chance to share adventure, intrigue, and emotion—without having to leave your living room. And that is irreplaceable.

Need More Encouragement?

Do you have a culture of reading in your household? Or do you need to get motivated to start reading to your kids?

Check out Read-Aloud Revival! Sarah MacKenzie has interviewed Jim Weiss (“Reading Aloud Imperfectly”), Andrew Pudewa (“Reading Aloud to Older Kids”), and Mystie Winckler (“For Parents Who Don’t Like to Read Aloud”), as well as many great authors.

I had the chance to join Sarah to chat about the importance of reading aloud with a struggling reader. Sarah and I packed a lot into our 21-minute conversation, including suggestions for some of my very favorite books to read aloud with struggling learners.

6 Great Reasons to Read Aloud to Your Child - All About Reading

You may want to subscribe to her podcast (I did!) or her email list. Read-Aloud Revival has had over 1 million downloads—and for good reason!

So grab a cup of tea and join Sarah and me as we chat about the importance of reading aloud to your children. Then go grab a book and a comfy chair and spend some time reading together.

Need ideas for books to read aloud? Check out my FREE downloadable library lists!

Photo credit: Rachel Neumann.

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Leave a Comment

Sublime.

says:

All I can say is thanks. Sometimes, we do the right things without fully understanding how important and impactful they are. Your ideas will enable me enhance my reading aloud sessions with my learners. Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome. Our blog post on vocabulary development also has ideas on how to enhance reading aloud.

Leah

says:

My 5 children and I love to read together! It’s their favorite thing to do.

I’ve noticed that reading aloud has made a big difference with my two-year-old and her vocabulary development. Great article?

Great article. No question mark, sorry for typo.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Taneeka,
Yes! We even have a block post about Building Your Child’s Vocabulary through read alouds and conversations with adults.

(And I knew what you meant even with the question mark. :)

Rebecca

says:

This article hits home. My children are not avid readers. I hope that someday they will be. I need to make sure that I am reading to them everyday. Thanks for the reminder.

Amy P

says:

Love that you are sharing that reading aloud is a wonderful help to children. I read aloud to mine before they could read and once they could read they would read aloud to their stuffed animal friends in their room. Their creativity blossomed in so many ways. Keep reading to those kids moms and dads!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Amy, you couldn’t have voiced my sentiments better! Reading aloud is not only the perfect predecessor to a child’s reading ability in the future, but it brings such joy when it is a time-honored tradition in the household! I love hearing that your children’s creativity has blossomed, and that they even enjoyed reading to their stuffed animals!

Rachel

says:

My daughter loves being read to! I can’t wait until she can read all the amazing books I loved growing up TO HERSELF! Haha!

Tara Balcom

says:

Any suggestions for those of us whose kids don’t enjoy it? My almost 5 year old would rather sit and “read” to herself on her bed than have me read her a book, although I still ask and try! And if/when I try to read to them both out loud, they get bored and distracted and don’t enjoy it. I don’t enjoy being ignored and/or interrupted. Needless to say, we don’t do a lot of read alouds! Which is sad, because I read about and hear people talk about how important that time is for their families. As a homeschooler you’d think we’d be all about books….someday, maybe?

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Tara,

My youngest didn’t enjoy read-alouds when we started either! I found I had to be very choosy about books at first and make sure I chose ones that would be of high interest (topics she was interested in, great pictures to draw her in, etc…). It also helped to start with shorter times and gradually build up. I kept a book basket and had my kids choose a book for me to read to them. Also, many kids need to do something with their hands–it actually helps them concentrate. Quiet activities like molding play dough at a table while you read, coloring (sometimes I found related pictures to our story for my dd to color, or I found black and white images online, enlarged them and printed them as coloring pages), using a squeeze ball, or other hands-on activities can help. Sometimes I’d read a short story and then have my kids build something from the book with blocks, or act a part of it out.

Some kids have mild auditory processing issues–maybe not enough that you’ve noticed it yet, but enough to make read-alouds a struggle for them. Things like slowing down your reading pace just a bit, letting them look at your mouth instead of the book while you read, varying your intensity and so on can really help. This article has tips you may find helpful: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/auditory-processing-disorder/

So much of life is based on taking in information through the auditory pathway, it’s valuable to try to find a way to make read-alouds more palatable. But I wouldn’t give up or be too discouraged yet. You may find that your daughter is able to do better with read-alouds over time.

Does she like reading to you? Maybe you could take turns reading to each other?

HTH some!

Dana

says:

I have never enjoyed reading. It always made me tired, and I did it only out of necessity. I have a new found love for reading to my children however. I have read to our oldest (now 7) since before she was even born. We now have 4 children and they all love books, whether Mom, Dad, or big sis is reading, or just looking at the pages during quiet times. Thank you for the encouragement! I am delighted to see my children have a love for books and reading through my efforts, and see these benefits!

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Dana,

Isn’t it funny how we’ll do things for our kids? I’m glad you can enjoy reading more now and see the benefits for your kids–what a joy that they love books!

Julie Summerfield

says:

Thanks for reminding me how important this is. Sometimes by the time I get done with regular schooling the last thing I want to do is read aloud for any duration! I can talk in a normal conversation for hours….but make me read and my voice gets all tired and my throat is dry etc. Not sure why that happens but it does. I am going to renew my efforts to do at least 20 mins of reading again. I hate it when we get out of a good habit of it, and before I know it, it has been a couple months since I read to them!

Merry at AALP

says:

I like to make a cup of hot tea, or grab a cold drink in the summer, and keep it by me as I read aloud. Maybe something like that would help? I wonder if you are trying to read quickly or more loudly, and that impacts your voice–you could try varying your volume and tempo and see if that helps at all.

Antoinette

says:

We have read to our kids nearly every night since they were babies and they LOVE to read! They also now enjoy listened my to audiobooks! Fostering a love of reading is a must! Homeschooling is much easier when your children love to read… Read with you children!

Laura

says:

I love reading with my kids! Seems like some days it’s the only time to get an independent toddler to sit still and cuddle. It’s great to see the light come on, so to speak, as they gain awareness of the plot and characters and start asking great questions or showing emotion with the characters.

Melinda

says:

I loved reading out loud to my granddaughter. The day came, though, where she grabbed the book and said that she rather read the book herself – silently – she could read faster alone. Thankfully, she still cuddles while she reads to herself.

April Rakes

says:

Totally agree!!! Love this article and the joys and benefits of reading with your child :)!

Noelle Searles

says:

Ive always loved reading aloud to my children. Its a wonderful time to snuggle up together!
I cant wait to start reading literature to my children as part of our schooling next year.

Shannon

says:

My husband and I have read to both of our children since birth. They are 3 and 5 now. Our 5 year old can sit and “look” at books for hours. Both boys enjoy being read to. I’m ever hopeful that they will grow to be habitual readers and enjoy every second of it. I didn’t read as much as I should have when I was younger. I’m now catching up on a lot of classics that we’re reading to our older son. One of the best parts about reading aloud is getting to use accents and voices for different characters. My son requests this!

Katrina

says:

I used to overlook the value of reading to my kids until my husband and I decided to make a habit out of doing it every night. Now I look forward to it, they look forward to it, and they try to read with me as well. We also read during the day when we have down time as well! Best thing for the whole family! :)

Shauna

says:

We love reading aloud in our house. As child this didn’t happen in our home so I am loving it with my child.

Connie

says:

I started reading to my kids when they were very young and still read to them daily.

Sara M

says:

I guess I hadn’t really thought of all the benefits to reading out loud to my children. Thank yoU!!

Caryn

says:

We read throughout the day to our kids and especially enjoy reading stories before bedtime; this helps calm everyone down!

Angela P.

says:

We love reading to our kiddos!

Beth Naas

says:

We have always done read-alouds, in literature of course, but also in science and math (usually from Apologia or Master books and the Life of Fred series). Old, young, and all ages in between gather several times a week for reading aloud. Love, love, love it.

Brittany

says:

I agree. Reading is great!

Cat

says:

Love reading aloud

Erin

says:

We love read aloud time at our home. Reading aloud applies to teens as well too so don’t stop reading as your kids get older. As a junior and senior high teacher, my students loved it when I read a chapter or section out loud to them too. It allows struggling readers to focus on imagining the story rather than deciphering the words.

Jennifer D

says:

We love our read aloud time! My kids beg for just one more page or one more chapter.

Tara

says:

We love our family read aloud time!

Tammy Jones

says:

We love our read aloud time. We need to make sure we do more of it instead of less.

Monique

says:

I love reading aloud, it’s a great family bonding experience

Rosaline

says:

I love this article! It does give bonding with my 5 yr daughter a wonderful turn.
Her favorite book so far is “Guess how much I love you”.

Hope H.

says:

Reading has been a part of both my daughter and son’s bedtime routine since the beginning. Now my daughter is starting to read herself and wants to help out with the words she knows. Our favorite books right now are Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, Trucktown and anything construction. I love the time we spend together and I love that my children have developed a love for books at such a young age.

I completely agree! I have always read aloud to my kids since they were small, and they both love reading now. I would add yet another benefit: It is the single, easiest, fastest, and most-effective way to increase their vocabulary! Along with reading aloud to them, my kids, my son especially, love listening to audio books. As a result, he often uses words that aren’t typical for his age. (He is 8.) For example, if he thinks the room is cold, he doesn’t simply say “It’s cold in here.” Instead, he says things like, “It is frigid!” I love it!

Heather

says:

Reading aloud to my children is one of our favorite things to do. Everyone asks for it, even though they can all read now. It has definitely given them a head start on language and reading skills.

monica

says:

Love reading aloud to my kids and now, having them read aloud to me!

Wendy

says:

We begin and end everyday with our favorite activity – snuggled up on the couch reading to our children. Soon they will be too big to sit on our laps, but they time reading to them will continue. What a wonderful memory we are making for all of us!

Anna A.

says:

I read so many books aloud to my 4-year old. The last favorite one I read was King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub. It came with a CD and I think I might have enjoyed it more than my son.

Julie Hall

says:

We are trying to read aloud more and right now, we love Little House on the Prairie :)

Jessica

says:

When I read books from my childhood I can still hear my Gram’s voice. I read to my kids because it’s how I remember her love. And how I show love to my kids. :)

Marli

says:

I love read aloud time with my four girls each day! They really enjoy it too! It definitely keeps them interested in books. We visit the library regularly to find new books to enjoy.

Michelle

says:

Read-aloud time is a treasured part of our day. I do see a big difference in attention span and relationship connection when we are faithful in this time.

Pyra

says:

Just curious. . . have you seen any studies about a person reading aloud to a child v. a child listening to audio stories?

I definitely see extra benefits to being read to by a live person in real time (you can stop the story, answer questions, relate it to another life event, explain vocabulary). I know in large families and with older children, audio books are also an efficient way to create an opportunity for listening to stories read aloud. Just curious?

Merry

says:

Hi Pyra,

We haven’t seen any studies, but it’s an interesting question! We’ve done some of both (I still read aloud most evenings to my teens, but both enjoy audio stories). Just last night they both told me that when they read on their own, they often hear my voice! That cracked me up!

I do love being able to discuss the stories we read, or to stop at certain points.

Shayla

says:

I am curious about that as well. I LOVE reading aloud to my kids but I have recently struggled with vocal cord issues and nodules on my vocal cords and so I had to rely on audio books since I have to rest my voice (which is sad for both me and my children) but I figured the benefits were hopefully the same.

Nancy S.

says:

I treasure read-aloud times with my children. My oldest, 11 years old, eagerly waits all day (while still happily listening to the “younger books”) until I can read for an hour (or more!) from an “older” book when others are sleeping. I love that we can talk about plot predictions, vocabulary, moral and ethical issues, etc. as we read as well.

Kristy Johnson

says:

My oldest (7) still likes picture books and reads Magic Treehouse books on her own, but her favorite books to read are about taking care of animals. Her absolute favorite is Barnyard in your Backyard. She doesn’t just read, she studies all about the animals, the proper terms, breed names and uses, disease management, etc. We joke that it’s just some “light” reading before bed. She has really learned to care for her chickens and I know she will be excited to get more animals as she gets older.

Belle

says:

My 3-year-old likes to be read to before bed (of course, reading prolongs bedtime!). A favorite activity of her’s is going to our local library. We get about 10 books a visit and we read some of those 10 over and over and over! I will read several words of a sentence and then she finishes it, or at least says the next word or phrase. Curious George and Fancy Nancy are some of her favorites.

Merry

says:

Ah, we have many fine memories of Curious George!

Bonnie Boucek

says:

I always enjoyed reading to my kids. Now, I love having them read to me too!

Henriette

says:

We love the read alouds, first in the real words and then in our own words

lauren

says:

thanks so much! love reading out loud! so great :)

Judith Martinez

says:

My mom is good at this and I am not. I have made a real effort over the last couple of years to do read alouds with my kids and they love it.

Katherine

says:

Some of the best memories from my childhood are my mom reading to us kids every night after dinner. We grew up loving good literature, so when our television broke, we didn’t bother to fix it for over four years because we had something even better. Additionally, all four of us kids grew up dyslexic. With the exception of being slow readers, you would never know any of us had reading problems, and I believe it’s largely due to our mother hooking us on reading to the point we never gave up when we needed extra help.

kelly g

says:

We’re going on a bear hunt is one of my favorites to read to them, but they are sure enjoying the little house on the prairie books.

Jeanette

says:

Our family’s favorite read a loud has always been Laura Ingalls series. We have 11 children and I have just finished reading it again to my 11 and 7 yr olds. Then we move on to the Caroline Years etc, etc and read all those. We read out loud to our children every evening before bedtime. It is a ritual, that rarely gets skipped, and the children have all loved it. They look forward to that time that they spend with Mom. I also, always read to them Sunday afternoon and evenings. Almost all of our children have become book worms, except one who is severely dyslexic. I wish I had had this program when I was teaching him. We used many different types of programs.

Kayla

says:

Our favorite so far has been Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Not the one I would have picked as the all time favorite, but my opinion doesn’t really count ;-)

Melissa I.

says:

Sleep Baby Sleep by MaryAnn Cusimano Love and Maria Van Lieshout is one of my favorites. Love the way it sounds!

Kristi Burton

says:

Love You Forever!

Tracey

says:

My kids love audio books. We keep several in the car for trips.

Tracy W.

says:

My youngest is 11 and still loves me reading aloud to her. In fact, we are doing the BookShark curriculum for our homeschool, which is literature based. I just finished reading aloud Moccasin Trail to her, which she now claims is her most favorite book. Last week I read aloud The Doll People Set Sail; the newest in the Doll People collection. We really enjoy our read-alouds. She still reads by herself, but she says she’ll want me to read aloud to her for a long time to come yet. I sure hope so…I enjoy it just as much as she does.

Merry

says:

Tracy, I still read to my 15 and 17 year-olds! Hold onto the tradition as long as you can! We use Sonlight, and though they don’t schedule read-alouds for high school, it’s been a great way to get in a few extra books each year, plus we can discuss as we read and enjoy together. It’s also a nice way to work in some classics that might be more of a “reach” without discussion along the way. I remember my 10th grade highschool lit teacher reading chapters out loud to us–I always loved that.

One of my favorites is A Story for Bear, though it always makes me teary-eyed. So well-done.

Molly

says:

My two year old screams and cries if I put him down for a nap or for bed without a storybook!

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