When your children are younger, of course you read aloud to them! But most people stop once their child is reading well independently. I want to share with you why I still love to read aloud to my teenage and pre teen children. They love it still and as long as they allow it I will continue.
As much as we try to slow down time. Our children continue to head rapidly towards adulthood. As this happens our time with them tends to be more about offering an ear for their thoughts, offering rides to their numerous activities, and offering often unwanted and unappreciated advice. Draping ourselves on the couch and spending time enjoying a book together is a way to slow down and offers a chance to reconnect. We laugh, offer commentary, and enjoy building a new level of our relationship, one that I hope will last into adult years as parenting begins to turn to friendship.
Sometimes reading about a tough subject (like advanced chemistry) leaves a learner overwhelmed. Sometimes a sensitive kid is effected by the subject matter. Sometimes a book glosses over specific aspects of history or tries to change completely depending on that authors perspective, political leanings, or religious affiliations. All of these instances, are a chance to talk with my child and have an open dialogue. If my kids are hitting a brick wall while studying independently, they know that they can always come ask me to read the information out loud. By hearing the text, they typically find it easier to absorb. Plus they can ask me to stop and discuss any points of confusion. This is especially helpful with kids with learning disabilities. Those whos reading level may not be to where there comprehension or general understanding lays.
If a child has expressed an interest in a specific topic, or we've all been debating at the dinner table, I will sometimes look for more information and share it over our next meal. It has led to great conversations about current events as well as ways even video games can help us learn our school curriculum. I keep on hand books to be able to look up quick facts on all kinds of subjects. Science is a primary focus as its my sons favorite. The real bonus here is that afterwards the kids will research further in order to rebut my points and continue the conversation. It's always fun to try and outsmart the teacher. Especially when your tween daughter reaches that lovely stage of needing to always be right.
I could read all day every day and I'd still be thinking, "Oh! I forgot about that book!” Reading to my older child gives me a chance to introduce a new-to-them authors, a book of poetry that has special meaning for me, or a genre that they wouldn't have explored on their own. Beverly Cleary books are a great example of recently shared books that have sparked an interest for my daughter. S.E. Hinton has been a big hit for my son. Getting to bond over a much loved book and getting to relive the memories of the first time I heard the same book is something I hope they will one day share with their own children.
This might be the most important point of all! You can teach spelling, take writing courses, and have them do copy work until you all hate the thought of it, but nothing is going to help your older child develop language arts and writing skills as much as natural exposure to advanced writing. If your child struggles with reading it would be a shame for them to miss out or never be exposed to classic literature. While ear reading or audiobooks may seem like cheating, I promise you its not and your children will be better for it.
If you want them to ace their college admissions tests, speak in a way that wins them the job, or just plain improve for improvement's sake, reading out loud to them is the ticket. It is only to their benefit to learn bigger or better words for speech and writing. They won't have to stop to look up new words or stumble over the way the sentences are crafted; instead, they will be learning naturally as the language flows over them. I as a child always hated having to stop to look something up it took more time and took me out of the story. Find those classic novels like To Kill a Mockingbird ; share some of Robert Frost's work, introduce them to Shakespeare. You'll be glad that you did.
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