In the revolutionary review “Becoming a Nation of Readers” of 1986, the Commission on reading stressed that reading aloud to children is “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for success in reading.” It is important to expose children to books at a very early age, in as early as six week old. Babies this young already like to look at pictures and hear stories. Accordingly, children already start to develop an awareness of printed letters and words by the age of two or three, by seeing surrounding adults writing, reading, typing, etc. Preschoolers and toddlers are particularly eager to learn from adults reading to them and with them.
It is crucial to read aloud to young children because it allows them to absorb the information and skills they require to do well in academics and their everyday life, and these include:
Familiarity with printed letters and words, as well as the connection between print and sound.
Wide variety of words and their meaning.
Books – what they are, as well as their use and importance
The world around them and everything in it
Formal and informal language
The happiness that reading can give
When reading aloud to children, the following practices can help improve retention and comprehension:
Let children experience reading as a pleasurable activity. Make sure that you and the kids are seated in a comfortable area where they can sit near you. Make them feel warm and sheltered. As much as you can, try to express the emotions contained in the story you are reading. This will not only make the children more interested, they will also feel involved. If they enjoy the experience, they will definitely look forward to another reading session with you.
Read aloud on a regular basis. Make reading aloud an everyday activity. Create a schedule within the day, and —
Read at the beginning of the day or before going to bed.
Read after playtime as this helps children to settle down.
Read while the kids are having their snack and before taking a nap.
Make reading a learning experience. Explain words, phrases, or sentences that can be confusing or vague. Ask the views, observations, or opinion of the kids on what you are reading. If you are reading a picture book, explain what the picture(s) is all about and how it related to the story. If you are reading a story which is set in a particular place or timeframe, give the kids a backgrounder about that place or time period. Discuss the feelings and actions of the character with the children. Look for opportunities to connect the story to everyday life or school activities.
Ask questions while you are reading. Think of questions that can relate the story to the life and experience of your young audience. Make them compare the story to other stories they’ve heard. You can also ask them to guess what will happen next or what the ending will be.
Discuss the book with the children. Once you’ve finished reading, ask the children what they think of the book or the story they just heard. Ask questions that will make them express their feelins and opnions about the book. It would also be good to make them pick a part or character they like the most. Ask them as well how they understood the book/story and the lessons they’ve learned from it.
Read different types of books. Do not limit yourself with story books. Various kinds of books help children to learn different kinds of information and skills. Storybooks promote creativity and make children learn about different cultures, eras, and people. It can also make them understand how people think, act, and feel differently. On the other hand, informational books give children useful facts about the world and everyday life. It also widens their vocabulary and make them learn concepts that will assist them in school. books. Story books and informational books both contribute to the mental and emotional growth of children. Just make sure to choose materials that are appropriate to the age of the group you are reading to.
Read books that will assist you in teaching. Alphabet books will help you teach letters, their sound, and what they look like. In the same way, counting books teach number recognition and counting. When teaching about phonological awareness, use poetry books or books about nursery rhyme. Try to find oversized books, or books with big prints and pictures as this will help kids remember easily. Pick out stories that teach about socialization, and how to properly relate to other people (ex. Books on friendship, cooperation, etc.). Books that tell about how nature works to give them an idea or two about the world and their environment.
Do not hesitate to repeat favorite books. Its no surprise that kids love to hear their favourite books again and again. Reading books repeatedly actually improve the comprehension skills of children and discover new things. For instance, after hearing a story twice or trice, children may come to understand the meaning of some words they had trouble understanding when they first heard the story/book.
Books that are suitable for reading aloud
Alphabet books. These books show the upper and lower case form of the alphabet letters and feature pictures of things that begin with the letter’s sound.
Counting or number books. These books not only show the basic numerals, they also illustrate them with the use of pictures (ex. Two monkeys, five dinosaurs, etc.)
Concept books. Books like these are meant to impart basic ideas that will assit children in school. Examples of concept books are books about color, shapes, sizes, opposites, farm animals, vehicles, and more.
Nursery rhymes. These books have different rhymes and verses that can be easily remembered and recited by children.
Pattern books and repetitive stories. In this kind of book, a phrase or sentence is repeated in the story forming a thought or pattern. You will notice that after reading a page or two of this book, your audience will have already learned the repeated phrase or sentence. This experience usually gives enjoyment especially to young children.
Traditional literature. Examples of traditional literature are fairy tales, folktales, fables, myths, and legends from different countries and time periods. These type of stories help children learn different eras, cultures, people, traditions, and practices. Meanwhile, stories like Cinderella differ from one country or culture to another and is interesting to discuss.
Wordless picture books. Books like these tell stories with the use of pictures alone. These books allow children to tell the story in their own version, which in turn enhances their creativity, language, as well as their sense of event sequencing
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