Dear Parents Read Aloud for Your Child

(Mehr, Gilgit)

Reading aloud by parents and teachers is the best strategy for kindergarteners and pre-schoolers to motivate them towards reading and attending school. Spending some time in reading aloud for your early grade children can be one of the greatest joys of teaching. Mothers read aloud for babies is a unique experience, it encourages more peaceful and respectful learning environment at home and school. It stimulates children to learn and generates interest towards learning to read. Reading aloud is the simplest form of shared reading experience between a child and a parent or teacher.

A US Department of Education commissioned report by Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson (1985) entitled Becoming a Nation of Readers, suggests that, the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading, is reading aloud to children. More recently, an Australian study found that those children who were practiced with reading more frequently at age of 4-5 achieve higher test scores in National Assessment Program in Literacy and Numeracy, Kalb & Van Ours, (2014). Reading aloud is associated with a range of literacy skills and cognitive development or processes. Reading to children in early grades also helps improve language and literacy skills. Read-aloud interventions brings positive effects on child’s language, phonological awareness, print concepts, comprehension and vocabulary outcomes. Read aloud interventions provide children at-risk of reading difficulties with higher literacy outcomes (Swanson 2012). Furthermore, read aloud at home enhances the development of receptive language such as listening. Various research findings indicate that children who are posed to read to more frequently at an early age enter school with rich vocabularies and advanced comprehension skills. Conoy, 2016 states that practice of reading aloud to children encourages children to read books themselves. They become more able to understand the structure of the text. Reading aloud helps children to understand in other curriculum areas including Mathematics and Science. Moreover, when parents read aloud for their children, it provides a valuable opportunity for focused interaction and valued social practice. Reading aloud lead to attitudinal and motivational outcomes for young learners. The attitude and desire to read in childhood has profound effects in literacy development habits in young readers. This positive attitude towards reading develops level of engagement and practice of academic and recreational reading. The ability and attitude for reading grows stronger over time, brings desirable reading experiences in school and influences children’s literacy level.
To bring the passion for reading in young children, parents and teachers can use the same strategies. For instance, when we read aloud to our younger children, we must read with passion and give voice to individual characters. Looking at child’s eyes to draw his/her attention towards the story is a powerful strategy. Similarly, use of gestures and unique voices is essential to bring liveliness in the story and to make story joyful for listeners. Using emotions and expressions while reading stories is another great method to create excitement, curiosity and love for reading.
There are following four ways to encourage young children towards reading.
1. Do not Stop once you begin to read-aloud. Do not break to ask questions, explain vocabulary, or discuss the story. Instead let them picture the mood, scene setting and characters through their fresh imagination.
2. Do not teach during loud reading to your young children. Do not ask them to analyse the story. You are required to do teaching separate from read-aloud practice.
3. Do not make them sit on the desk instead allow them to sit or lay wherever they choose. Let them listen, dream and imagine in whatever way that suits them.
4. Being able to read aloud and share your own love for books is the greatest thing about teaching. So, stick to each word use voices and movements to add depth and richness of the story.

Find time for read-aloud every day. Unburden your children from having to do something and just allow them to enjoy the story. This is what they’ll remember and will alter their learning and create interest for attending school to become eager readers.
Written by; Mehr Parwar

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