June… wondering about how to keep students engaged? Read aloud.
Teachers know the importance of students reading as much as possible, every day. Reading opens doors, not only to new ideas but to their future. Being a proficient reader is to understand, respond to, and use language to share information and interact with others. It is a tool for forming connections, enabling students to thrive, adapt and grow.
In order for students to grow and be prepared for future learning, they need to utilize and understand information from a wide variety of sources. The ability to understand, critically think and communicate about what students are reading, is essential. It is the time teachers and parents spend reading with children that makes the difference.
The Benefits of Reading Often
Researchers have discovered that the brains of young children who are read to often, are more agile and open to narrative according to Gurdon, (2019). This research suggests that these children are able to process more of what they are hearing and at a faster rate. “A quantifiable difference in brain function is observed in children whose parents read to them often” (Gurdon, 2019, p.9). Research would suggest that a child who is read to has an advantage because of what they have experienced with language and imagination during story time. Reading aloud in school are opportunities to make reading come to life.
9 Benefits to Reading Often
- Reading builds brains
- Activates visual imagery
- Stimulates optimal connections and patterns in the brain
- Builds language, literacy, and social-emotional skills
- Improves writing through exposure to ideas, grammar, etc.
- Increases vocabulary
- Increases curiosity and imagination
- Build empathy for story characters
- Opens up a new world and gives your child the keys to unlock their dreams
Given these benefits it is not surprising that being able to read well is the best predictor of school success. It is worth investing in.
“The story of humankind is the story of human voice, telling stories. In reading aloud, we draw from an ancient wellspring of happiness that predates the written word. Oral storytelling has sustained and refreshed humankind since the far-off days of the distant past.” Meghan Cox Gurdon 2019 pg. 20 “The Enchanted Hour; The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction”HarperCollins Publisher
The Ramped Up Read-Aloud
For K-3 teachers who would like to learn more about the power of Read-Alouds, Maria Walther’s “The Ramped Up Read-Aloud” teacher resource is a practical guide with 2 page read-aloud instructions, for 101 engaging picture books.
References and Resources
Gurdon, M. (2019). The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading
Aloud in the Age of Distraction. New York, NY, USA: Harper Collins.
Klass, P. (2018). Reading Aloud to Young Children Has Benefits for Behaviour and Attention. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/well/family/reading-aloud-to-young-children-has-benefits-for-behavior-and-attention.html
Mendelsohn, Alan L. et al (2018) Reading Aloud, Play and Social-Emotional Development, Retrieved from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/141/5/e20173393
Zuckerman, B. (2009) Promoting Early Literacy in Pediatric Practice: Twenty Years of Reach Out and Read. Retrieved from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/6/1660.short