Top 3 Reasons to Read Aloud to Your Kids

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Almost 14 years ago, I started reading everything aloud to my newborn son.  He dutifully listened to Emily Dickinson's poems, all the latest adult novels and numerous classics. At the time, I didn’t realize how much reading aloud would shape our family, but I did know that it felt right.  Later I read  age appropriate books--Sandra Boynton and Dr. Suess with an occasional Walt Whitman or Rudyard Kipling poem thrown in the mix.  We graduated to longer books and now I still read aloud to all five of my kids, mostly when they are doing the dishes or cleaning their rooms.  One day last fall, I read an entire 200 pages of Because of Mr. Terupt for 3 hours as my kids weeded!
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My instincts are correct, according to Jim Trelease, the author of the Read-Aloud Handbook. When I first read it a couple of year ago, I was thrilled to find hundreds of read aloud titles, tips for luring kids away from electronics and into reading, and reasons why reading aloud is essential for all ages.  Here are my top 3 reasons for reading aloud to my kids.

  1. Vocabulary:  Kids who listen to books read aloud learn and understand more words because of it.  I’m continually surprised by the words my kids use and I know it’s because they’ve been exposed through hours of reading together.
  2. Empathy:  Reading fiction improves empathy according to a researchers at the New Smchool.  I’ve had many conversations with my kids about book characters and the parallels between them and real people. 
To read about the last reason, go to Children's Book Academy, here.

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