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Reading aloud to kids even after they are old enough to read by themselves is a very good idea, for many reasons, as this mom says from personal experience.
I lie on my stomach, chin propped up on my hands, a book open in front of me, reading aloud. I am flanked by my twins following the story. The book is ‘Wonder’ by R. J. Palacio.
My children are ten years old and yes, I still read aloud to them. They’ve been reading on their own for sometime now yet for some reason they love to hear me. Each night we snuggle up and we go through a chapter or two. We take a month to finish a book, sometimes more if it’s a big one. They don’t seem to mind.
Since when they were babies, the kids have loved stories. When they were younger they insisted I narrate it in my own words. Slowly they got used to me reading.
As they grew they started reading on their own but I didn’t stop our nightly sessions. I took up different books – bigger books, books with better vocabulary, books handling trickier issues. And we kept on reading. It has become a night-time ritual of sorts.
I’ve found I enjoy it as much as the children. Here are seven reasons why reading aloud to older kids is good for them too.
The twins aren’t very avid readers. I didn’t want their lack of proficiency in reading to rob them of their love for stories, which they love passionately. Listening to me read keeps their imaginations alive and their minds ticking.
There has hardly been a day when I have been able to stop without the twins begging for more. Yet, there are days when I just have to stop. And one day I found my son carrying the book to school ‘to read on the bus’ because he just couldn’t wait to find out what happened. Of course that complicated things a bit because he had read it and my daughter hadn’t, but interestingly he never minds it when I re-read those bits.
That’s another mystery about kids – they don’t mind listening to their favourite stories over and over again.
The kids pretty much pick their own books. Their favourite reads include Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries, Captain Underpants and Tom Gates. I try to let them be. However, when I read to them I have a say in the book we choose. This becomes a great way to introduce them to new and different ones.
The text heavy books still put them off. And those are the ones I pick. I’m hoping they will realise that great stories emerge from those fat books. And that one needs patience to truly savour a riveting read.
When they read on their own they often skip words they don’t understand or deduce their meaning, which isn’t bad at all. However when we read they often stop me to ask what exactly a word means. They ask about varied usages of words and exclaim if they stumble upon a biggie second time round (specially homophones and homonyms).
The discussions we have are priceless. ‘Wonder’ gave us the chance to talk about middle school, about bullying and about judging people based on their physical appearances and about being judgemental.
Yeah that one’s my favourite. I get to hold on to their childhood for a bit longer. I know I know and I’m trying not to be that clingy mum but I cannot help but enjoy this bit of their extended childhood.
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Published here earlier.
Image source: By English: Joel Cairo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, for representational purposes only.