Reading Aloud to Your Kids

Photo of Girl Reading a book.Reading Aloud to Your Kids

By: Naomi Esterly

Reading aloud to your kids is a great way to spend quality time with your children while providing them with benefits that will last a lifetime. Below, we’ve compiled some suggestions to help you get started reading aloud with your kids.

Ages 0-2

Reading aloud doesn’t need to wait until baby is actually born. According to Dr. Michael Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic, reading aloud to your child before birth helps stimulate brain functions and helps the baby establish a bond with your voice. A baby in the womb can’t differentiate between individual words, but can hear the rhythms of spoken language. Before birth, choose books that interest you personally. This will help you to establish a routine before baby actually shows up, and also give you practice reading out loud, an activity many of us haven’t done in a very long time.

After birth, selecting age appropriate books will help your child stay engaged in the story. Don’t be afraid to aim high; children being read to can comprehend more advanced material than those reading themselves, so feel free to choose books at the higher end of the age range. Children in this age group respond well to rhyme, rhythm, and alliteration. Pictures in books should be simple and clear to help your child grasp the connection between the illustration and the words on the page. Books help introduce children in this age range to basic concepts both in language and in reference to their world at large.

Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman uses short, simple sentences and a sprinkling of fun action words to tell the story of a baby bird exploring the animals and objects in his world while trying to locate his mother (who went off to get something for baby to eat just before he hatched).

Dr Seuss’s ABC by Dr. Seuss helps your child learn the alphabet using silly rhymes and plenty of alliteration. This is a fun tongue twisting read that will have you and your child giggling while reinforcing the basics of letter sounds and phonics.

On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier is an awe inspiring poem that conveys the sense of wonder that parents feel at the birth of a child. The language is a little more advanced and will help toddlers grasp more specific concepts, such as Pacific salmon rather than the generic fish. More important is the emotional tone, which captures the beauty of nature and the miracle of birth in a way children can feel.

Ages 3-5

Children in this age range are constantly learning and navigating new challenges. They are beginning to understand and appreciate stories rather than just story elements. Books chosen for this age group should help kids expand their vocabulary, build empathy by allowing them to see through the eyes of others, and pique their natural curiosity about the world around them.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn tells the story of a young raccoon nervous about starting
school and the special way his mother devises to comfort him. The story is heartwarming
and encourages children as they begin to step out into the world.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is one of the classics of children’s books. The story revolves around Max being disciplined for acting “wild” and dealing with the punishment by escaping into his imagination, only to return to his mother’s unconditional love in the end.

Ages 7-8

Early school age children are ready for longer chapter books and can follow a story through multiple episodes. Books for this age group should continue to build vocabulary skills, as well as providing deeper and more nuanced characters and storylines.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl draws children into an imaginative adventure that illustrates the power of goodness and the consequences of wrongdoing. The novel ends by showing each of the rejected children as having become better through their various punishments.

Mr Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire by Andy Stanton is an outrageously funny book that will keep you and your children laughing while still teaching the value of true friendship.

Reading aloud to your kids is one of the greatest gifts that you as a mom can give. Children who are read to develop better listening skills, better vocabulary and language skills, and better attention spans than those who are not. Reading aloud helps improve kids’ reading comprehension and strengthens academic skills. It is a great way to develop deep and lasting memories with your kids, and it helps to make kids lifelong readers and lifelong learners.

BIO:

Naomi Esterly just had a new baby! She’s also a mother to two twin boys
and a wife to an army man. In between her duties as a mom and wife she’s also a
volunteer in her local community center and a freelance writer for 1800WheelChair.Com.

Which books do you love reading to your kids? Share your picks with us below.

 
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