The Power of Reading Aloud
Two years ago when my oldest was in kindergarten and loving books, he began to pump the brakes and suddenly was less interested in reading to me and more interested in being read to. I know, I know these are the problems we should have, but I wondered what was causing his hesitation. When I inquired he let me know that hew as afraid that if he learned to read that I wouldn’t read to him any more. That day I promised him that no matter how old he got, I would always read to him and he could read to me. Introduce Covid lockdown and we had A LOT of time for reading. Summer of 2020 I read aloud the first four Harry Potter books. We would sit for hours and read…because we could as we weren’t doing much of anything else. As we got back to normal, some things changed but reading aloud together has not.
Now we work to pick out “just right” books for him to read on his own or to his brother and then what I like to call “just right plus” on the top end of his just right reading level that we read together. He reads a page, I read a page and little brother listens. But then we also pick books that are too hard for him to read, while still being age appropriate and I read those aloud to them. Spring Break has allowed us to rekindle our reading aloud. While we each read every day- it’s not always aloud reading. The aloud reading is something special because it allows us to talk about the story, make predictions about what might be coming next and explore topics of common interest. Even the books when I’m exclusively doing the reading, I know he’s following along. So, while the book might be too hard, his reading ability is growing because he’s more than likely following as I read and committing those new words to memory.
We’ve gotten hooked on reading series. Magic Treehouse originally started as series I was reading to the boys. It quickly transitioned to a book that J and I were reading aloud alternating pages. And then before I knew it, he was devouring them on his own in one sitting. He plowed through the entire series and then added Merlin’s Missions to the mix. When he finished he said he was both happy and sad. I think we can all relate to that feeling when series ends and there are no more books to read or shows to watch. We’ve been reading the Ballpark Mysteries aloud for a while now. We are through the initial series and now on the last of the four book Super Specials. So we are about to hit that, we loved it and sad to see it end moment in our read aloud world. I’m not sure what’s next for us. There’s a two book “series” that J recommended from school so we are going to do that one next, but we need another longer series to keep us occupied.
The fun twist to our read aloud adventure is the my youngest is now reading aloud too. It’s come full circle as he is bringing home from school books that J used to read to us. That and our friends Piggy and Elephant are back! C is now reading them to us. It’s truly something to see his excitement as he has his turn reading aloud.
My plan is to continue with reading aloud for as long as possible. How long will the boys want to continue? Time will tell. But for now I just enjoy the fact that it’s a regular part of our days. The family that reads together stays together!! Happy Reading!