You probably understand the appeal of reading aloud to young children. Who can resist a preschooler, book in hand, saying, “Read, pwease?”
But once children can read for themselves, parents often assume their days of reading aloud are done. In fact, a survey by children’s book publisher Scholastic showed that most parents stop reading to their children by age six.
Sonlight parents, though, don’t stop reading to their children at six. Instead, Sonlight’s programs include Read-Alouds all the way through middle school. Here are three reasons why.
1. Children want their parents to read to them.
One of the surprising findings in the Scholastic survey I mentioned is that many children wish their parents had continued to read aloud to them after they could read for themselves. Children love the special time and shared experiences of reading together. Even if older children don't want to sit on your lap like they did when they were three, they still enjoy the experience of sharing a book with you.
2. Children have a "reading gap."
Until eighth grade or so, children can comprehend a much higher level of writing when it's read out loud to them than they can when they read on their own. This “reading gap” happens because the mechanics of reading can be tricky. It’s similar, perhaps, to writing. You know that when a child is just learning to form her letters, she can only write a few very simple words, though she could tell you a much more complicated story when she's talking to you. It's similar with reading. Reading out loud to your children up through eighth grade helps them access ideas, vocabulary, and concepts that would otherwise be out of reach. Just because your children wouldn’t want to read a book to themselves doesn't mean it's not perfect for them if you read it out loud.
3. Reading together builds relationships.
Reading together is such a precious time to spend with your children. It's a break from a busy day, as you get to slow down and immerse yourselves in a story together. When you share a book, you and your children will go on remarkable adventures together—through history and throughout the world. Reading together also provides opportunities for your children to ask you questions about things they wonder about, such as love, loss, careers, family, and what it means to follow God.
Many Sonlight families say that inside jokes from books they've shared together have become part of their family culture.
Your school-age children want you to read to them. You not only help them academically when you read aloud to them, but you also expand their understanding of the world and deepen your relationship with them.