Why you should read aloud to your son
Reading aloud to your son, even when he is well into his Secondary schooling, has many benefits for both the reader and the child.
Reading with him regularly sends the message that reading is worthwhile. Studies into reading motivation suggest that knowing the people they admire value reading and read regularly is one of the greatest reading motivators for young people.
Boys who enjoy reading will want to read, so positive reading-together experiences promote this. In effect, you are advertising reading by exposing your child to great stories and informative texts.
Reading is a lifelong habit
With your help, your son can begin to establish a positive relationship with the printed word and grow into an adult who reads readily and frequently. Reading is one of the greatest practical tools in life, and subsequent access to knowledge is powerful.
Reading aloud enables access to a greater range stories and information. Students can be read texts that are of interest to them but beyond their reading level, which stretches their understanding and motivates them to improve their skills.
We can also model to our boys that reading can help us to relax and bring us pleasure during our leisure time.
Reading expands vocabulary
Being read to also develops comprehension, especially when supported with follow up discussion. It builds vocabulary, and provides a model for fluent reading.
The size of our vocabulary has a significant impact on learning success. Studies suggest that students with expanded vocabulary knowledge learn more, remember more and are more interested in what they are learning.
Reading aloud to our boys allows adults the opportunity to expand vocabulary by addressing any new words that they come across, particularly when accessing more challenging texts of interest.
Have a book discussion
Choosing a book at random has its place, but carefully selected texts, where some thought and planning has gone into the discussion you will have with your son about the content and text, are enormously valuable. Not only can the text target specific subjects you wish to expose him to, but a productive discussion will also help to develop the characteristics of an effective reader.
Having a dialogue around the book you are reading aloud with your son is known as dialogic reading and its benefits extend to older readers too. As teachers, we do it right through your child’s school years.
Your questions can range from, who, what, where?, to, what is happening here and what might happen next?, to more developed suggestions, how would you feel if this was you? and, why do you think this might have happened?
Sometimes children need time to think about stories they have read, so don’t be surprised if your conversation continues for a day or two.
Have fun reading together.
Suggested resource: https://howtotellstoriestochildren.com/about
Raelene Plozza is a teacher and Head of Literacy (ELC-VCE) at Brighton Grammar, an all-boys school in Melbourne. This article is about Wellbeing
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