What made us want to write about reading aloud to children? We had many reasons. First, research studies are clear that children gain many advantages when their dads and moms read to them. For instance, one book on research about reading stated, “The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children” and said that “[Reading aloud] is a practice that should continue throughout the grades.”
Indeed, many experts urge teachers, dads and moms, and other adults to read aloud to children whenever possible. For instance, Jim Trelease, the most famous author of books about reading aloud, states what he calls the “two basic reading facts of life.”
The two facts are that we will only do something again and again if it brings us pleasure, and we learn to read by reading again and again. Thus, if children find that reading brings them pleasure, they will read a lot and because they read a lot, they will read well. It all starts with pleasure, and the best way to connect pleasure and reading in children’s minds is to read aloud to them regularly.
In addition to reading research studies and seeing what the experts say, many dads and moms have told us that reading aloud greatly benefited the children who they read to. For instance, an administrative officer at a large chemical company told us how he had read aloud to his first child and the child had gone on to become an avid reader, but he had neglected to read aloud much to his second child and now has great difficulty getting that child anywhere near books.
All this evidence is support of reading aloud is powerful. However, what really convinced us to write about reading aloud was not what the research, the experts’ books or other people told us. What convinced us was our own personal experience with reading, whether it was someone reading aloud to us when we were children, us as adults reading aloud to children, or us reading books silently.
We believe firmly in the magic of reading, in its power to enliven our lives in so many ways. It’s something all Dads should be involved in, for the benefit of their children.
Dad reminder: You can start to read to your kids at ANY age. It's fun for the kids and dad. It really is a dad duty!
- George Jacobs, Ph.D. and Wan Loh Inn, Ed.D.
Dr. George Jacobs, Ph.D. and Dr. Wan Loh Inn, Ed.D. are the authors of many books (including "The Read Aloud Guide", textbooks for teachers and students, curriculum guides, and children's storybooks).
Find out more about reading aloud to your kids.