Read Aloud – is more than just a Story!

While having taught children to read for 15 years theres a lot to be said about reading and it is therefor neccesary to look at the different areas within reading individually, and start at the basics.

Learning to read starts long before the children enters my classroom, it starts in the home from day 1 with building a solid foundation for lifelong reading and learning habbits and methods.

Teacher Tools

The tools I have developed and used is no news but it is what I have found to work with higest succes and enjoyment from the children and parents. There are also some things that doesn’t work and we will get back to that.

First of all what you should be aware of as the adult that take a book in your hand, start opening it and looking inside it, then study the back and start reading some words and the title and author, infront of a child is being observed, with currious eyes.

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You are an examle of how books and the written words are treated, how they are used and how to gain words, information, stories and knowledge by reading them. You are giving them an example on how words are pronounced, sentences build, where to put a pressure and how to understand new words, either from the contects or from looking at a dictionary.

Beside this the proven bennefits of reading aloud to our children are numerous and an imidient investment into the future as well as our daily life.

Gaining Knowledge

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The most fundamental skill needed to be established in a child is the ability to acces the knowledge, either by listening, feeling or looking. The better they listen and look the more they will be exposed to words, letters, pictures and items. By reading aloud the child become better and better at listening and thereby gain the information others want to convey to them.

But it is not enough just to fill in the knowledge, we have to think about how the brain works and remember. The information has to be understood and categorised in the mind. Therefore we have to work a little with what we heard or saw by repeat and activate more senses, the body, the eyes, the moth and the brain with reflections.

Reading Routines

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The children loves routines and the reading time can be arranged after the dinner and chores are done, then there a special place or carpet we use and make ourself comfortable. For some children who are little restless they can be given paper and crayons and draw while listening.

When reading aloud we wake the childs interest for listening, they experience an instant reward just by paying attention. By reading slowly, enjoy to pronounce the new or funny words, we show the child that reading is valuable to use time on.

The Conversation

Before starting the reading sessions it is very important to ask about what was read the last time, the last book or chapter, what was it about, what happened, was it fun or boring, why? It forces them to acces what has happened and therby stimulating their memory. Help the children build sentences while they explain.

The childrens questions during reading are very welcomed, and just as important as the story. It show a genuine interest from the child and that they are reflecting, and it should be praised. Questions also help them understand and remember.

Furthermore we show the child how to listen by listening to their questions. Maybe we help them build the correct sentence for the question and then take time to answer, then we might have some questions for them to ask also. This is a crucial way to build the conversation skills and make the children aware of how they express themselves, how to ask and answer a question.

Unfolding the Stories

After the reading to furthermore keep attention on the story the child can draw some of the items from the book, or write wome of the words they like. By saving drawings and writings in a folder the child see their expressions are as important as others and are encurraged to produce more. Later when they look at all their drawing they will see how they are progressing and getting better, thus further motivationg them to proceed in reading and expressing themselves.

The story might be in a serie or is made a film, or is read aloud as audiobook, maybe theres pictures and more information on the internet. Likewise subjects related to the book, leading to new books can be investigated in betweeen the readings.

A story like The Little Green Dragon is excellent for this use. There are tons of places to find anything about dragons.

It is a book containing 23 small chapters which take 10-15 minutes to read with a narrative that is easy and fun to follow and engage with.

I have used it for several classes and they enjoyed drawing dragons and trees while listening. The drawing were hung on the wall and helped remember what happened last time when we talk before starting to read.

What does not work

To give the children the books without any interaction or examples. To force the child to sit and listen all of the sudden, while they might be occupied with something else.

Agree on a routine or talk with the child and prepare it for reading as a reward for finishing what they are currently doing.

The child can not remember if there is to many days between the readings. It is prefered and recomended by all studies and proffesionals advice that the child is read to at least 10-15 minutes every day.

Most important in all teaching situations is no stressing or hurrying, any work done is an achievement to become better. When the child sence that your mind is preoccupied and several things are happening at once this will break their concentration. When you are focused, you are an example of how to work and progress.

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Possitive Quotes and Inspiration

While searching on this topic I found some quite interesting articles and ressources about reading aloud and the bennefits which I will comment from here.

Screenfree.org – The miraculous power of reading aloud

“Reading aloud is a powerfull tool for both emotional and developmental bennefits, to slow down in a stressfull world.”
-Book by Meghan Cox: The enchanted Hour.

Sciencedaily – A million wordgap

“Kids who are read to daily watch less Television. Kids who are not read to watch more television.
Reading is a huge important ressource for vocabulary exposure and development. Studies show that 25% never read to their children.
Natianal Litteracy Trust found that only 30% read to their children.”
– Ohio University

Edsource.org – Read aloud build litteracy

Mentions how we talk in a basic level, but when we read we present the child for new words and different sentence constructions- Likewise pictures also represent new words and variations. Reading aloud prepare the child for litteracy skills.
A study showed there is a million wordgap between families that read and don’t read to their children
A study show the difference between families on welfare and with jobs and proved that theres a difference on amount of spoken words during the childrens days up til preeschool and resulted in a difference of 30 million words between a child that hear 620 words or 2150 word each day in their first 5 years

“…Reading takes you to another world and challenges you.
Reading picture books in an early age prepare children to be expert language users. You are facilitating their learning to read.”
-Dominic Massaro

Helene Larsen Author

Chief Editor 1pen ePublish - Teacher - Speaker - Graphic Designer

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