Learning Tip: Reading Aloud—It's Not Just for Toddlers
By Susan Dichter
The nineteenth century was clear on this point: Reading aloud is not just for toddlers. As Dickens and company recognized, it's a pleasure and a source of intellectual stimulation for people of any age.
In our time, however, we concentrate upon reading aloud to the very young. We know that reading aloud is a key element in developing our child's ability to read for himself. But once he can read, there is a tendency to believe our job is over. This is a mistake.
Though a child of eight is no toddler, he still appreciates the closeness, affection, and one-on-one attention that comes with reading aloud. It's best to take turns. When you—and your child—read aloud, he's exposed to a level of language that is a notch above what he would be comfortable reading alone. As with younger children, a second-grader understands far more words than he can recognize by sight. When he encounters these words in a story that you read together, he stretches his vocabulary and generally becomes more sophisticated about how good language works.
LeapFrog recommends "read-alouds" for big kids:
By E.B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams
D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths
By Ingri D'Aulaire, illustrated by Edgar Parin D'Aulaire
By Brian Jacques
The Roald Dahl Treasury
By Roald Dahl
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
By Jules Verne, translated by Anthony Bonner
Grosset & Dunlap
And don't forget the mesmerizing, kid-captivating Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (published by Scholastic Books).
Susan Dichter wears many hats—mother, writer, former teacher, museum director, and librarian; her books include Teachers: Straight Talk From The Trenches.
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