Why Read Aloud?

Post image for Why Read Aloud?

by Dianne White on November 29, 2015

Reading aloud is one of those things that seems to fall by the wayside these days.  It’s a shame.  Kids, parents, teachers, librarians. We’re all over-scheduled, over-worked, over-tired.  And yet, for those of us who love to read and who believe in the power of story,  those 15 or 20 minutes we spend sharing a favorite book with a child or a class are surely worth the extra effort.

There’s a gem of an article, written back in November of 1993, by Christopher de Vinck and published in the Wall Street Journal called, “Why I Read to My Children.” It says more succinctly than I can, why reading aloud is one of the most important things a parent can do for a child, and I’d like to think that, by extension, these same reasons can apply to teachers and librarians who read aloud to students.

The article is worth searching out and is also available in the appendix of CONVERSATIONS: Strategies for Teaching, Learning, and Evaluating (Heinemann, 1999), one of many excellent books written by well-known and respected teacher/literacy specialist Regie Routman.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Reading aloud to children every day gives them the widest entry to that place we call freedom.  Reading aloud to children begins the slow process of education that ends in parents and teachers celebrating: “They know! They know! Their hearts and minds have made the connections.  Our children are free. They know! (de Vinck, 1993)

Much has been written about the value of reading aloud, both as a How to Get Your Child to Love Readingdemonstration of the joy of a good book and as a tool for parents and teachers to model the reading process.  Routman writes that reading aloud is a perfect way to “demonstrate thinking aloud – predicting summarizing as you go, working through tough spots.” (31) She suggests that reading aloud can be an opportunity to address pacing, model rereading for clariforing theication, make connections to The Read Aloud Handbook Jim Treleaseknown information, and confirm or disprove predictions.

But reading aloud can be much more.  Routman writes, “Sometimes, the book is so good that just reading aloud and sav moment is enough. Our silence is our appreciation.  Many times, however the conversation and interaction around the book are what make reading aloud powerful. (32)For specific hints about the how-tos of reading aloud, check out Esmé Raji Codell’s terrific list, Hints for Reading Out Loud, as well her favorite read-aloud recommendations and book, How to Get Your Child to Love Reading.

One more classic resource?  The Read-Aloud Handbook (Penguin Books, 2013) by Jim Trelease, now in its 7th edition.


Thumbnail image for GIVING THANKS


November 25, 2015

We are here because of the friendship of the first people. This month of November has been appropriately designated as American Indian Heritage Month. I give thanks for excellent, authentic and accurate books written for children by authors and artists who are American Indian. Here are several I am pleased to share with you. For […]

Read more →
Thumbnail image for A new favorite bedtime story

A new favorite bedtime story

November 18, 2015
Read more →
Thumbnail image for A Tiny Piece of Sky, an Important Piece of History

A Tiny Piece of Sky, an Important Piece of History

November 15, 2015

World War II is a conflict that has been the subject of many books in recent years. Many of these books – both adult and children’s – are about life in Europe during that conflict. Fewer paint a picture of what life was like here in the United States. Although the fighting was far away, […]

Read more →
Thumbnail image for An Interview with Pat Zietlow Miller

An Interview with Pat Zietlow Miller

November 11, 2015

It’s a pleasure to welcome back Pat Zietlow Miller to ReaderKidZ to talk about her newest book, SHARING THE BREAD. Dianne: SHARING THE BREAD is your third book, and what a beauty! The subtitle, “An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story” hints at the traditional and timeless nature of the text. The illustrations – gouache on watercolor paper – beautifully […]

Read more →
Thumbnail image for Sharing the Bread

Sharing the Bread

November 8, 2015

November has finally arrived. The stores are filled to overflowing with turkeys, pumpkins, spices, and all manner of signs to remind us that the holidays are just around the corner. One especially sweet addition lining bookstore and library shelves this season is Pat Zietlow Miller‘s newest – SHARING THE BREAD , illustrated by Jill McElmurry. Subtitled, “An Old-fashioned Thanksgiving […]

Read more →
Thumbnail image for An interview with Mary Atkinson

An interview with Mary Atkinson

November 4, 2015

It’s a pleasure to welcome Mary Atkinson back to ReaderKidZ to talk about her new book, OWL GIRL . Dianne: Learning to deal with change and managing the sometimes-rocky transitions of childhood are important themes in children’s literature. I love the world you’ve created in OWL GIRL. Gram and Gramps’s house on Padgett Lake feels safe and yet things […]

Read more →