I am a huge believer in the many benefits of reading aloud to your child. Here are just a few:
-Allows your kiddo to picture the story more easily
-Increases vocabulary knowledge
-Increases understanding of language patterns
-More bonding time with your child talking about what you are reading together
-Builds empathy and awareness of social and societal issues
-Instills a lifelong love of reading
And reading aloud is not just beneficial to babies and toddlers, but older kids, as well. In fact, studies show that a student’s reading level doesn’t catch up to their listening level until about eighth grade. So, kids can understand books that are read aloud to them, even if it is difficult for them to understand when they read it by themselves. There is no expiration date on reading with your kids!
And there is a simple trick to make reading aloud to your kids EVEN BETTER for their comprehension and that is by THINKING ALOUD.
As you read to your child, you should also be thinking aloud. As a proficient reader, you are able to process what you are reading very quickly. You make predictions, connections, inferences, and monitor your own comprehension as you read and may not even realize it. This is a skill that needs to be taught and modeled to your child.
Thinking aloud is beneficial, because you are modeling how a skilled reader makes sense of a difficult text. Here are some examples of what thinking aloud can look like:
Make connections – make connections to other stories you have read, movies you have watched, global issues, or to your own life
Make predictions – Say what you think what will happen next, then ask your child what they think will happen next.
Ask yourself questions as you are reading aloud
Make inferences – Based on background knowledge and what’s happening in the story, are you able to guess something about a character, setting, or situation – share it with your kiddo!
Reread certain sections – If your child doesn’t understand something, reread it and then think aloud about which words and phrases help you figure out the meaning of the section.
Use context clues for vocabulary – If your child doesn’t understand a word, use context clues to help your child uncover the meaning of the word, rather than just simply saying what the word means. (Be sure to check out my post about helping your child with context clues!)
It takes practice, and you may feel a little silly at first, but modeling is the essence of teaching your child a skill. A math teacher models how to do math problems before they tell you to go “do math!” Reading is the same. We can’t just say to kids, “go comprehend this text!” when we haven’t modeled for them how to use reading strategies and background knowledge to do so.
Let me know if you tried thinking aloud with your kids and how it went!
Happy Reading (and thinking!) Aloud!