Saturday, May 31, 2014

Reading Aloud At Older Ages

We are running towards the finish line in the school year.  I will save my end-of-school-year-projects-and-homework-and-speeches-and-productions rant for later.  Or, maybe I didn't save the rant after all. 

Anyhoo, I am SOOOOO looking forward to summer.  And summer reading!  Reading has always been a big part of our family and yet only two (2) of my children LOVE reading for pleasure.  I have many theories on this but none seem to prove true.  Even the "screen-time" theory doesn't work because my oldest three kids had very little screen time (yet most preferred many other activities to reading).  Granted, some of my kids are struggling readers due to dyslexia and/or ESL challenges--but it still presents a mystery. 

The fact that NOT all my children love to read makes me even MORE inclined to find ways to add books to their lives.   But I don't want it to be a chore, ya know?  I do believe that reading aloud is a great way to involve reluctant readers (or struggling readers) to enjoy books. 

I love what Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, has to say on the topic.  "We read aloud to children for the same reasons we talk with them: to reassure; entertain; bond; inform; arouse curiosity; and inspire.  Reading conditions the child to associate reading with pleasure; creates background knowledge; builds 'book' vocabulary; and provides a reading role model."

Trelease also reminds us that a good children's book has three times the rich vocabulary that conversation holds.  He says that kids who come from deprived backgrounds have heard only 1/3 of the words compared to children from higher socioeconomic homes.  AND Trelease reminds us it is important to continue to read aloud to kids in middle and high school. 

Having said all that, one of my main summer goals is to incorporate more reading aloud to my children--even the oldest kids.  I hope to do this in traditional fashion but also by adding more recorded books to our everyday car trips.  I also want to go over the fairy tales with the younger crew--so many lost out due to coming into our home at an older age.  And I want to incorporate reading picture books to all my children--partly for the same reason but also because I have come to believe there are many benefits to picture books at every age. I have a bit of a trick in getting my older kids to enjoy picture books again (in place of a summer chore they can read books to a younger sibling).

At the same time, I know that some of my kids will be reluctant to participate in "Mom's-great-idea-summer-reading-aloud-program-it's-good-for-you-to-read-more-books-idea!" 

I would love to hear your ideas on how to incorporate more reading aloud (or even silent reading) into a family (especially for the teens)--and especially without turning kids off to reading.  

Up next, some of the read-aloud chapter books my kids have enjoyed the most--and some on our list for this summer. 


Alex and Riann said...

We have a mix of avid/reluctant readers in our home too. During the summers though, we do a homemade version of a "summer reading program" with an incentive. After making a pages-a-day or daily time goal, we set up an incentive to work toward. I gather some of the titles I want them to read, as well as some titles they want to read in a basket with their chart to record their progression (in a high traffic/visible place), and then I work really hard at not nagging...but encouraging! The reading-aloud-to-younger-sibs is always a great idea, and asking them to share their favs with me brings a new delight in a book too. I try to encourage the kids to tell grandparents, friends, cousins, etc about the titles they are reading, which helps with retention of the stories and excitement over their achievement.

thecurryseven said...

I like to make use of captive audiences when reading to older children. For us lunch time works best. Everyone wants to eat, they are all in the kitchen, and so I read to them. If they want to eat, they have to listen to me read.

(We need to catch up at some point!!)


Anonymous said...

I will have to try audio books because I am a horrible at reading aloud - I make any book sound boring. I can do picture books just fine...and read to my youngest every night and by default his older brother since they share a room. Can you also share your typical summer schedule? I am so seat of my pants...

Anonymous said...

Found this reading game in a recent family fun magazine and thought you may want to incorporate it into your summer reading plans.

Enjoy reading!
Carrolls in Tulelake