Roger Rosenblatt once said: “There may be no more pleasing picture in the world than that of a child peering into a book—the past and the future entrancing one another.” So why should your child’s teacher be the only one to see that pleasing sight? Parents often feel inadequate to help with all aspects of their child’s education. That is one reason they may need to hire tutors to help with new math or science concepts, or with the intricacies of English grammar and writing.
However, reading is one area in which almost every parent can have a profound impact on their child. Most parents can read—and if they cannot read well, this is an excellent time to master the skill. But reading to a child, with a child, or listening to a child as he reads is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways that you can impact your child’s education.
Reading aloud helps create a love for reading.
Children love to gain their parents attention in positive ways. After a day of constantly having to remind a child of duties and responsibilities, it is nice to have some down time, especially in the evenings, where the two of you can share in the joy of reading. Try reading together just before your child’s bedtime, when he or she is ready for bed. When a child associates reading with a pleasant activity, such as positive parental attention, he or she is more likely to love reading for themselves as they get older. Praise them for improvement in reading skill or for reading with expression. Read to them if they are small or seem particularly reluctant at first. As their skill improves, they will likely want to “help” read the story aloud for themselves. Don’t focus on the skill as much as the story. The skills will come with practice as they come to love the stories.
Reading aloud helps students improve reading scores.
Studies show that the more a child reads, the more his reading improves. That is why there are so many programs at schools and libraries to encourage reading. Reading with your child—having him read to you, or have him follow along as you read the story—helps student gains important skills that will carry over into the classroom and on tests. Exposure to more books also increases your child’s vocabulary in a natural and painless way. You can increase the benefit by asking them simple follow up question at the end to make sure that they understand the meaning or by having them to predict what will happen next in the story. You will be amazed at how your child’s reading ability will blossom before your eyes. And you will know that you have had a large part in that process.
Reading aloud improves bonding with your child.
Books are filled with ideas. As you read with your child, you have the opportunity to discuss those ideas in a way that bonds the two of you together. Discuss how certain characters behaved and whether the behavior was right or wrong. Ask how the child would react in that situation. Ask how the child would change the story, if they were writing it. Simply use the books as springboards to other emotional and intellectual discussions. In this quiet time, for a few minutes a day, as you and your child are bound together by the magic of words, you will learn more of their heart than in almost any other setting. And they will learn more of yours.
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