When you are good at reading, it is easy enough to be called on in class to read aloud. As a student who enjoyed books and reading, this was never a cringe-worthy moment for me.
However, as a student who joined late into learning a new language, I experienced the other side of the coin. Reading aloud in a language I was still learning, with a group that was far ahead was stressful and embarrassing.
As an adult, while reading aloud to my young daughter I’ve noticed the following benefits. Several of these are, I think, applicable in classroom reading as well:
- Reading Aloud helps you quickly gauge your reading fluency. How fast you read, and whether you pause at the right places, cues the listener into both your reading and comprehension level at the same time.
- Reading Aloud makes you conscious of pronunciation. Words that make you hesitate or slow you down (even as an adult!) are because of the uncertainty in pronunciation. Just as I used to look up the meaning of a word, I also find myself looking up correct pronunciation these days.
- Reading Aloud ensures you don’t skip words or meanings. Sometimes when we read, we get the gist without taking in all the words. Reading aloud slows the reading process down and ensures you are reading complete sentences, thereby internalizing sentence construction and story structure.
- Grammar and punctuation errors are often more obvious to the ear than the eye. When I worked as a copywriter and proofreader, I would regularly read aloud some paragraphs to check if they “sounded” right.
- Reading Aloud can expand a child’s vocabulary. Words that are commonly used in speech can often be found in books. Young children exposed to these “big words” which they cannot read, helps raise comprehension and add new words to their vocabulary.
- Reading Aloud tends to hold your focus deeply on the text. By physically vocalizing each word, ensuring right pause and pronunciation, the whole of your attention is on the reading material. This is an excellent way to train mental concentration, particularly, for young readers.
I was probably in the 5th grade before I was able to comparatively reflect on my lack of reading confidence in one class for the same task in the other. And I found my solution as well. Practice. When we were reading aloud in class, I would start counting the number of students to my turn, and then count the paragraph I would have to read aloud, and practiced silently till it was my turn.
And my teacher noticed… “VERY good, Vidya! Next.” Amazing what a small, yet timely praise could serve to encourage a student.
In hindsight, it also solidified my confidence to read and write in a new language.
The Scholastic Kids & Family Reading ReportTM: Fifth Edition is out and offers a snapshot of where young people are when it comes to reading independently.
Here are some of the findings of a nationally representative survey conducted last fall by Scholastic in conjunction with YouGov. Some of the results are surprising, including the fact that kids prefer to read books in print.
Following the findings is an analysis of what they mean for parents and teachers:
The State of Kids & Reading
- Half of all children ages 6–17 (51%) are currently reading a book for fun and another one in five (20%) just finished one.
- Both parents of children ages 6–17 (71%) and kids (54%) rank strong reading skills as the most important skill a child should have. Yet while 86% of parents say reading books for fun is extremely or very important, only 46% of kids say the same.
- Three-quarters of parents with children ages 6–17 (75%) agree “I wish my child would read more books for fun,” and 71% agree “I wish my child would do more things that did not involve screen time.
Spotlight: What Makes Frequent Readers
- Frequent readers, defined as children who read books for fun 5–7 days a week, differ substantially in a number of ways from infrequent readers—those who read books for fun less than one day a week. For instance, 97% of frequent readers ages 6–17 say they are currently reading a book for fun or have just finished one, while 75% of infrequent readers say they haven’t read a book for fun in a while.
- Children ages 6–11 who are frequent readers read an average of 43.4 books per year, whereas infrequent readers in this age group read only 21.1 books annually. An even more profound difference occurs among children ages 12–17, with frequent readers reading 39.6 books annually and infrequent readers reading only 4.7 books per year.
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World Read Aloud Day is Wednesday – and there is reason to celebrate! According to Scholastic’s “Kids & Family Reading Report,” 83% of kids ages 6 to 17 say they love or loved being read aloud to. The report found some important findings that parents should know….
- Parents STOP reading to their kids as they get older and can read independently…BUT 50% of kids (ages 6-11) wish their parents kept reading aloud to them.
- The top reason? Kids say “it is a special time with my parents.”
With all that’s on our plate – homework, tests, extra-curricular activities, online safety, family and work obligations, we need to keep it fun. Kids love being read-aloud to – they see it as both entertainment and bonding time with parents. No matter what, read-alouds with kids should be fun. How do we make read-alouds fun?
Here are some good tips for making reading aloud an ongoing ritual and ways to enhance the experience.
These first tips come from Pam Allyn, founder of LitWorld.org and World Read Aloud Day.
Create alternative times of the day to read aloud. Reading right before bed is cozy and wonderful but for many families the timing doesn’t make sense. Bring a read aloud to the breakfast or dinner table, or on Saturday morning before the day gets busy.
Use technology to enhance the read aloud feeling. Take advantage of free video chat apps and services to read aloud regularly with friends and family who are far away. Make storytelling central to your long distance check-ins to create joyful memories and build a family literacy culture all at once as you learn about each other as readers.
Click here to read the full article.