Children need to be read to


Imagine along with me … you are holding an album (CD) of your favorite artist.

On the cover and inside you find fascinating information about each song and best of all, the lyrics.

All that is left to fully enjoy the work of this artist is to hear it.

And then, you find a friend and play it and the songs are even better now that you are sharing the experience.

Now, reread the above, but substitute book for album, author for artist, pages for songs, and read aloud for play.

Do you remember being read aloud to?

When was the last time you read aloud to someone?

If you are an adult, far removed from children (you know) on a regular basis, you probably have not thought about it.

Quite understandable.

To read aloud implies that one person wants to share something (a book, an article, an advertisement, a poem) and a different person wants to hear it.

I read aloud to my husband – as we drink our morning coffee and tea and read two daily newspapers.

I often share a paragraph or two that stands out to me. This begs the question, why read it aloud to him?

Why not wait until he reads it himself?

Why not paraphrase it and give it to him in a shorter version?

Reading aloud is an act of giving and receiving and has value beyond the content of the words. It is a gift that should be exchanged every day.

Children need to be read to.It should begin as early as possible and continued as long as possible, even into adulthood.

One need not be a researcher to surmise that the simple act of being together, close enough to hear one another, has social and emotional benefits; however, the research* is clear – reading aloud is beneficial in many ways:

Allows developing readers to hear what words sound like, in terms of both pronunciation and syntax (arrangement of words and phrases).

  • Gives the listener access to facts, stories and ideas that might otherwise be inaccessible
  • Introduces new words and new relationships among words, such as rhyming
  • Encourages and improves listening skills
  • Frees the listener from the mechanics of reading and allows the brain to imagine, interpret, and make connections – in other words, to go where it may not have gone before!

What can be read aloud?

Try newspapers, cereal boxes, comics, advertisements and flyers, billboards, even closed captions on TV.

Next time, we’ll talk about what “every child needs every day,” but until then, keep listening and remember, a book can be a symphony, but only if you can hear it!