We love reading aloud to our children. It’s a bonding experience, along with the literacy encouragement. Says Pam Allyn of Scholastic Education and founder of LitWorld, “I’ve seen first-hand the profound power of reading aloud to engage children, inspire confidence and a sense of belonging, and build literacy skills, ultimately helping them become lifelong readers.” Here at SMG, we know this to be true. And this post is all about simple ways to make that happen and a few book resources to consider for reading aloud to your children.
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Are Parents Reading to Their Children?
According to Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report: 7th Edition —
- the percentage of parents reading aloud during a child’s first three months is up nearly 50% since 2014
- the number of 6–8-year-olds being read to 5–7 days a week is up seven points since 2016
- a majority of families (55%) read aloud 5–7 days a week before a child turns six
- but, after age six the number of parents reading aloud to their children dramatically drops off — yet 66% of children ages 6-11 say that reading together with their parents is fun!
The takeaway? Read to your children even after age six. This continues the interest in reading, creates much-needed family time, and improves literacy skills.
When To Read To Your Children
Many adults find that just before bed is a great time to read aloud to your child. After dinner is also an easy and relaxing time to do it.
Yet, you can also find time in little segments of the day. For example, if there is downtime waiting for one child to finish a sport or ballet class, read to the other children under a tree or in a side corner.
It’s best if you can create a routine — not only because children thrive with routines but also then it becomes a parental habit that you set aside time for.
If the books are short, the goal might be to finish the book. Once the books get longer to read (let’s say, over 10-15 minutes in one stretch), then you could maybe put a timer on it or a little phone alarm. It’s better to not get tired out with it. Make it enjoyable. 10 minutes to a half hour might be a good goal. It really depends on the child and you.
Above all, put away looking at your phone while reading. Try to keep it a focused time with your child or children. This sends the message that they are more important than a phone call or something else. And this focus also sends a message about how to work with time, how to be disciplined, and how to enjoy something in the moment. We often parent without saying words, and this is one of those instances — except that the words you are saying are from a creative world.
How Do You Find Read Aloud Books?
There are lots of easy resources for finding books that are great to read aloud. Many websites are dedicated to finding quality reading material for children and will classify the book by grade level and genre. Here are just a few resources for you:
- Common Sense Media — we find the reviews on this site to be very helpful as Common Sense Media has specific criteria for the reviews
- New York Public Library — and your local library and librarians are also great resources. Google your local library as well, as they will often list local librarian book picks. Your public library is also an incredibly helpful resource for free books — rotate them out every week or two, as it helps to maintain your child’s interest.
- GoodReads — has several compiled book lists
- New York Times’ Children’s Book List
- National Education Association