|photo from Practical MOMents|
Reading aloud is the single most important thing a parent can do to help a child prepare for learning.
Reading aloud helps develop language. Children have a larger vocabulary than the words they can read. And researchers have found that the more words a child knows on entering kindergarten, the more successful that child will be in school.
Reading aloud builds literacy skills. In addition to vocabulary, it helps children learn phonics, build comprehension skills, increases storytelling skills and develops familiarity with print.
Reading aloud, especially when done with expression, helps children meet some of the common core standards. One of those standards is to be able to read with expression. By reading aloud, you model that skill.
Reading aloud builds listening skills and also increases a child's attention span.
Reading aloud helps make kids smarter. It lets you introduce your child to all sorts of topics that he may not run into in the school curriculum for years. Think about sharing news and magazine articles – they can lead to discussions about everything from art to sports to scientific discoveries.
Just as important as language skills, reading aloud forms connections between you and your children. There’s a lot to be said about cozying up with a good book. Beyond the picture book stage, reading aloud provides opportunity to talk about tough topics.
Reading aloud is good for older children, too. Fourth and fifth graders enjoy listening to books meant for older readers. They enjoy complex plots even if they can’t read the stories (Treasure Island and Robin Hood stories, for example). And when a character gets in trouble by hanging out with the wrong crowd, your child is going to experience that with you at his side – a perfect opportunity to talk about it together.