Adults are not the only ones who can read aloud. Older children who we read to can return the favor by reading aloud to us. This is a lot of fun and makes the children feel more adult. Also, older kids can take turns with us to read aloud to younger children. This gives the younger ones another reading role model and gives the older kids another lesson in the value of reading. For example, when Wan Inn’s elder son Julian was in the third year of elementary school, he was assigned a reading buddy from Elementary 6 who came to read to him. Wan Inn’s youngest son, Jason, returned the favor when he was in secondary school by reading aloud to Elementary 1 and 2 students.
The error to avoid is pressuring children to read aloud when they aren’t ready. Let’s not turn reading aloud into an exam situation. Even if children can read a particular book themselves, maybe they prefer hearing us read it to them. Let them enjoy being a child. Let them enjoy sitting back and taking in our performance.
Reading aloud is best done with preparation. It is not easy for young readers to read something aloud and, at the same time, try to understand what they are reading. Thus, if children are going to read aloud, this probably should not be the first time they are reading the book. In short, if children want to read aloud, fine, but don’t push.
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.