Literacy: Why Reading Aloud is Essential


Reading—After raising four sons and working as a teacher, I would have to agree with the experts that reading aloud is essential.

Boy reading a book on the floor of a tent

Why Reading Aloud is Essential

Decades of Literacy Research Encourages Parents Reading Aloud

  • Becoming a Nation of Readers (1985) reached two conclusions. 1) The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual reading success is reading aloud to children. 2) [Reading aloud] is a practice that should continue throughout the grades.
  • In 2000, the U.S. Department of Education study found that children who were read to at least three times a week at home were almost twice as likely to score in the top 25% in reading compared to children who had fewer opportunities.
  • Literacy studies continue to support these findings.
Young girl with books

This girl cannot wait to be read to.

3 Tips for Planning Home Based Read Alouds

  • Create a daily or weekly routine. Establish a commitment to read aloud. It will be difficult to maintain any continuity without making a conscious decision to set aside a block of time.
  • Designate a place and provide a fun atmosphere. If possible, read in the same location. Avoid having any confrontations. Reading should be seen as a positive activity, not something to be dreaded.
  • Share the selection process. Part of the fun of reading is being able to select engaging books. All outings should promote the joy of reading. Encourage reading a variety of genres and select award winning books.

4 Ways to Develop Pre-Reading Skills

  • Examine and talk about the cover. Can you guess what the book is about? Is your child excited to see what’s inside?
  • Take time to look at the pictures and illustrations. Take a picture walk through the book and examine the drawings and/or photos. Is it possible to predict the storyline by just looking at the pictures?
  • Read slowly and with expression. Try including a variety of voices so that your child can distinguish between the characters and the narrator. Continue to bring an element of surprise and excitement.
  • Include your child in the reading process. Follow the words with your finger. When you reach the last line, ask your young child to help turn the page. Can your older child identify words that rhyme? Stop at one or two points to see if your child can predict what may happen next. Be open to questions or comments about what is happening. After finishing the book, can your child retell one thing about the beginning, the middle, and the end?

10 Benefits to Reading Aloud

  • Increases vocabulary
  • Adds to background knowledge of different topics
  • Introduces pre-reading skills
  • Develops early comprehension skills and strategies
  • Provides examples for proper sentence construction
  • Models a reading environment that encourages a lifelong love of books and printed materials
  • Encourages children to talk about the books they read
  • Reading will become associated with positive experiences
  • Provides shared family moments
  • Improves the likelihood of being successful in school

How do you make reading a priority in your home? What are your kids' favorite books to read?

Sandra Bornstein, an international educator and writer, has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses. She is the author of May This Be the Best Year of Your Life: A Memoir ( ). She has two master’s degrees- one in education and another in Jewish Studies and is a licensed Colorado teacher with a K-12 Linguistically Diverse Education endorsement. She lives in Colorado with her husband and has four adult sons.See and

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.



The following two tabs change content below.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Web Statistics