Reading is the best gift you can give your child. The more your child is exposed to reading the more benefits they can get from it.
Children that are read aloud to early and often pick up language skills faster than other kids and are more likely to become strong readers themselves. You should make read-aloud time a priority in your homeschool to help encourage a love of reading, build strong reading comprehension skills, and make the most of your homeschool
The benefits of reading aloud in your homeschool
Reading aloud helps foster a love of literature. Your children’s love and fascination with books starts long before they are ready to read themselves and grows with each book that they read or have read to them in their childhood. When you read aloud in your homeschool you create fond memories with your child of snuggling up on the couch reading, gathering together at the kitchen table to read while the kids color or play with playdough or read and create art together to go with what you are reading.
Reading aloud takes the pressure off of reluctant readers. For children that struggle with reading, being read to takes away the stress and fear of failure allows your child to fall in love with books and reading. Reading aloud opens a door for children that struggle and helps encourage them to work to build their own reading skills.
Reading aloud can help your child learn to focus better. During read about time set your child up with something that can help keep their hands busy but doesn’t distract from listening to the story. Playdough, coloring, and things like Lego can all be great activities to help keep your child’s hands busy so their minds can focus on listening to you read and build on their ability to focus and retain verbal information even if they tend to have attention and fidgeting issues.
Reading aloud to your child enhances their reading skills. the more your child listens to and sees the written word the more their reading skills will grow. For older kids being read aloud to while following along helps to learn what more advanced words look like and makes them easier to understand.
Reading aloud to your child encourages imagination. Unlike watching movies or TV reading opens up the imagination by encouraging you to envision the story for yourself. When you read aloud to your child they do not have to focus on the reading and can get lost in an imaginary world helping them challenge their brain in new ways.
Why reading aloud is important in your homeschool
When you make the effort to read aloud to your child you are helping them learn and grow in new ways. This can be a major asset to your homeschool and can help bring your unit studies or classical lessons to life.
Books have a way of taking us to places we could never go and exposing us to people we might never meet. When we read books aloud to our children on a regular basis, we inspire in them a love of learning that will follow them throughout their entire lives, even beyond school-age.
Books not only entertain and inform, they also:
- arouse curiosity
- inspire ideas
- build vocabulary
- create bonds
- teach compassion
- plant in the child a desire to read
- expose interests
Regardless of their age, when we read aloud to our children, we provide them with a positive reading role model. According to Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, “when we read to a child, we’re sending a pleasure message to the child’s brain” (Why Read Aloud?). The child associates reading with pleasure and just as he may desire an ice cream sundae, he will also begin to want you to read more and more frequently to him. Then, one day, he will start reading on his own and never want to stop!
When we read aloud to our children, we expose them to new ideas, new places and people and different ways of living. Reading aloud is a communal activity in which the whole family can participate. According to Charlotte Mason, “the best thought the world possesses is stored in books [therefore,] we must open books to children, the best books” (Towards a Philosophy of Education).
I would encourage you, if you aren’t setting aside time each day to read aloud to your kids, to make it a priority. If you aspire to have children who are life-long learners, then reading good literature should be a central part of your homeschool.
“Literature is an important and central part of education. Make sure that the habit of reading is established. Make time for reading at home and at school. It is the base of education.”
-Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, For the Children’s Sake