Reading out loud to develop well-read children
To develop a rich vocabulary, the confidence to use it and an ease to find the right words to express oneself, children need to be exposed to words. Reading aloud to children at school and at home has been scientifically proven to stimulate and strengthens the part of the brain associated with visual imagery, story comprehension and word meaning.
In their early years, being read to provides children with life-long benefits. What we are starting to see happening with children’s books today is that the descriptive words are more complex and when combined with fantastic illustrations provide the children with a 360 experience, the benefits of which lead to the following:
- Development of phonemic awareness
- Development of a rich vocabulary
- Use of correct grammar
- More articulate oral communication
- Enhanced creativity
- An understanding of people, cultures, and places beyond their immediate environment
In fact reading to children has proven to have unparalleled benefits to such a degree that the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a new policy recently encouraging doctors to share these benefits with parents.
What we observe is that as children enter their teenage years, which are a critical time in their development, they start to participate actively in reading aloud and the benefits of reading aloud increase. This process enables them to build confidence in the use of language to express their emotions and find the strategies to handle social situations and conflicts.
The types of books to select from will vary: Whereas younger readers respond well to books with strong repeated patterns and vivid pictures that support the text and engaging stories that reflect their experiences, teenagers interests are peaked by more powerful texts focusing on the issues that have historically concerned teens as well as themes particularly relevant today: How do I fit in? How do I stay true to myself when confronted with peer pressures? How will I find my life’s work? How can I create a world free of violence, hunger, want and filled with natural beauty?
Ultimately, reading aloud to young children establishes a life-long love of books, active learning and culture which is an important part of a well-rounded education.
Author: Dr. Kandace Williams, Superintendent Clarion School