The BEST book that I have read this year was not a far-flung adventurous tale full of heroism and humor but a scientifically-based book on the importance of reading aloud. I know, sounds DULL, but it was not. Meghan Cox Gurdon’s The Enchanted Hour: The miraculous power of reading aloud in the age of distraction, lays out the finest arguments of why we should be reading aloud to one another. Especially to children. Take 30 minutes to listen to this interview from Cool Science Radio to hear some of the best parts. Pay close attention to the segments around 5:20 concerning watching videos versus reading aloud, 14:10 struggling with words, and 21:58 VOCABULARY. Did you know that a child will know 438,000 new words if they are read two picture books a day for one year. Yep, 438,000!!
BUT, we also know that in reality it can be difficult to find that time to read aloud. Between sports practices for kids, getting dinner ready, late work nights, etc., the days can slip away. But don’t let them. Make sure that you set aside a few minutes each night to read books to your child. This is a time to learn, to quiet the brain and slow down a little, and bond with your child. AND DON’T STOP READING TO THEM. Many parents stop reading to their children when the child begins to read. This is when many of our students seemingly plateau with their reading skills! Continue to read to them as long as they will allow you! My daughter is beginning high school this year and we still read every night. Of course, the picture books have long been shelved and we now read books with many sensitive topics that allow us to discuss age-appropriate matter in a meaningful way. If you are reluctant to read a novel to your child, consider downloading an audio book and listen together. (Audio books are free at the public library and can be downloaded to your phone!)
And remember, there is no need to buy books. They are expensive and the library allows you to borrow for free. Your student may also check out books with their CCSD school ID (student number). Don’t want to physically go to the library? Use the SORA app (www.soraapp.com) to have your student login and read books on your phone, ipad, computer, etc. Click the SORA page above if you need assistance with logging in.
So, READ to your children. It is never too late to start or to start again. Reading aloud is truly the anecdote for today’s hectic world.