In 1983, the Department of Education funded the Commission on Reading, a national reading research study. The commission’s report, Becoming a Nation of Readers, claimed that the “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.” Reading aloud to children throughout their childhood may lead to more frequent reading and longer lasting reading habits. Adults who read aloud to children can model metacognition so that children understand that reading is thinking. Teaching reading comprehension through read alouds helps children grow as readers.
Reading aloud encourages complex reading earlier
When teachers read aloud, they can read books at significantly higher reading levels than children are capable of reading. Teaching literacy is made up of teaching inference and vocabulary that may not be a regular part of a child's life. Reading aloud brings these skills a safe environment where students feel free to ask questions and participate without the stress of decoding words. For some middle school and high school teachers, reading classics like Dickens and Shakespeare aloud helps in teaching reading comprehension because the students adjust to the older style of writing and vocabulary more quickly than when silently reading independently.
Reading aloud creates community
When teachers read aloud to their students, they are modeling how to hold a book, how to read from left to right, how to complete an entire book and how to think about the material. This is teaching literacy in the best way possible. Students learn to share their ideas and connections. Teachers who read aloud are teaching reading comprehension through real-life experiences that allow students to internalize and connect previous information to new information.
Reading aloud offers variety
Jim Trelease, author of The Read Aloud Handbook explains, “The wider the variety of books, the greater the variety of children whose interests will be either met or provoked.” Teachers may reach more children through read alouds than almost any other teaching method. Teaching reading comprehension through read alouds is so effective because the method bridges reading level and diverse topics, thus bringing all children into the world of reading.
Lear about the UT Arlington online M.Ed. in Literacy Studies program.
Korbey, H. (2013, May 14). Why Reading Aloud to Older Children Is Valuable. Retrieved October 11, 2015, from http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/05/14/why-reading-aloud-to-older-children-is-valuable/
Rich, M. (2015, January 7). Study Finds Reading to Children of All Ages Grooms Them to Read More on Their Own. Retrieved October 11, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/08/us/study-finds-reading-to-children-of-all-ages-grooms-them-to-read-more-on-their-own.html?_r=0
Sharpe, W. (2009). Reading Aloud — Is It Worth It? Retrieved October 11, 2015, from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr213.shtml
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