We’re at the stage with J my eldest that he will happily sit and read independently any book he finds – he’ll suddenly arrive book in hand and ask me what does this word say or what does it mean but apart from that he’s reading the books suitable for his age range and a little older plus any non-fiction books he can get his hands on whenever he wants. As he reaches this stage there is a temptation on my part to let him do all the reading and for me to step away from reading out loud to him. But I’m not and I will continue reading out loud to him for a while yet and here are my reasons why to continue to read to your child.
Pretty much like when the children were babies I would read books with stories, words as well as pictures and much more than their vocabulary at the time reading out loud to J now involves books that I know would be a challenge to him with his present reading skills but that I can read aloud and let him follow along, listen to my voice or ask what words mean as we reach new ones.
One of the ways to work on speaking skills is to model. In the UK speaking skills are assessed through to secondary age and getting kids used to things like flowing reading as well as using character voices are skills that can be hard to teach but they are easy to model. At the moment I’m reading James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl and each of the lovely insects inside the peach have developed their own voices and I will whisper words when the text says so or sing in the voice of the centipede numerous times. As I do it I hear J doing it with his own books – some of his voices are so funny and cute, but it’s all good speaking skills.
I think if J were to pick all his books himself they would all be animal based and 9/10 of them would be non-fiction by me reading aloud I’m sharing books that he wouldn’t otherwise choose for himself. From Enid Blyton to Roald Dahl these are classic from my childhood. From The Railway Children to Journey to the Centre of the Earth they are classic children’s literature that every child should hear. By choosing to read aloud, I can share those books and others maybe one or two chapters at a time or a set number of pages but I’m increasing his knowledge of the world of literature
Spend time together
Possibly my most important and favourite reason why I will continue to read with J even though he can read independently – because it’s a time to spend time together just the two of us every single day. I read aloud to him at bedtime, a chapter in the week and a couple of chapters at the weekend and it’s just me and him. The books are too advance for T so before heading to his room I read to her and then go and read to him.