World Read Aloud Day is coming soon; March 5 to be precise. It’s a special day most worthy of celebration, but first I want to share a secret.
Reading aloud to kids is one of the greatest pleasures I know. Without doubt it’s of HUGE benefit to children, setting them up for enjoyment of reading and giving them many of the skills they’ll need to read, write and spell. But the truth is I mostly read aloud because I love it. The light in children’s eyes, the joy and excitement they share over a great story transports me back to my childhood. That wasn’t when dinosaurs roamed the earth, but it was a very long time ago. Yet the simple act of reading aloud enables me to feel what the children feel. Instead of taking reading very much for granted, I remember my own joy in reading, the dizzy delight in a new book, the despair when a character met a problem. As I look around me at the little people with wide eyes and open mouths, I know what they’re feeling and I feel it too.
When we read aloud to our kids from when they’re babies, we help them absorb all the cadences and nuances of our language. They learn new vocabulary, begin to understand lots of story structure and internalise not only language but syntax too. Soon they begin to memorise oft read books, then they move into the stage of “pretend” reading. Next they begin to use all sorts of phonetic and contextual clues to decode words until one day we realise they are reading independently. Oh frabjous day! They are well on the way to a lifelong love of reading.
I am a lifelong reader, and my intention is to do my utmost to share my love of reading with anyone I meet, particularly the children I meet.
I’ve been reading the blogging challenge prompts at the lit world website, and I thought I would finish off with showing you a snapshot of the reading I do. Much of it is children’s literature because I review books at The Book Chook, but I thought I’d include a random sample of the grown-up books from my shelves too.
How about you, what do you think makes reading aloud special?