Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Reading Aloud vs. Reading Alone

Now that my kids are older (well 75% of them), I forget how important it is to continue to read aloud to them. They are happy to read silently in their own spots. From time to time, they will read aloud to me.

But I need to balance doing all three types.

Reading aloud models fluency and accuracy to kids, and frees them up to simply try and use their comprehension muscles. Many kids really enjoy this style, especially those who struggle with decoding and fluency. It is a fabulous way to introduce new vocabulary to them, and they are exposed to text that is usually above their independent level.

When you read aloud, have them describe the pictures they are making in their heads. Have them draw them if you have time. It is a great way to make sure they are moving with the story.

For some kids, this is tough. They are not auditory learners, so this takes a lot of concentration for them. Again, they need it too. Play around with having them only listen as well as looking along with you.

Having children read aloud to you is also very important. That gives them practice with their fluency and expression, and you will easily be able to monitor that. Take time to stop them periodically to talk about what is happening in the story. They may be working so hard to read the words that they are losing comprehension.

And finally, have them read alone, silently. They need to learn to spend time quietly and independently in this endeavor. I know that many of them DON'T like this. But it is a learned skill that builds over time. Practice with give them stamina.

Don't let them con you out of one of the three aspects...having them do all three regularly will give balance.

Even if it is your toddler. If they are not reading words yet, they can tell you what is happening in the pictures as their reading aloud to you. They love hearing books read aloud, and have them spend time reading alone too. My favorite thing to see in the morning is Nicholas, sitting amid a pile of books in his room when I come to get him up. He naturally gets out of bed and gravitates towards reading when he wakes up. I love that.

So keep it in balance!

1 comment:

  1. I never realized that reading out loud to almost 8-yr olds was that important until a guest speaker at the school emphasized the importance and why. I absolutely love that my kids ask every night for me to read out loud to them some older books we've been reading together. One of my favorite moments in my day. Thank you for this post!