Having my favorite story read to me aloud is one of my fondest memories of childhood. I cherished those moments – snuggled on the couch with a story I could recite, before even being able to read, about a character I knew like a best friend.

There are many ways to create a beneficial and memorable experience from reading aloud.

Make it Fun!

Reading is fun and reading aloud can be even more fun. The expression and inflection in your voice will make the story come alive. Most of us can think back on hearing stories like “The Three Little Pigs” read aloud and can immediately hear the rough voice of the big bad wolf, or the high voices of the little pigs. Your expression will help your son see how you use the punctuation in the book as well as make the stories come to life.

Also when reading a story aloud there is the opportunity to pause and think out loud about what is happening in the story. Before turning the page you and your son can discuss why the character did what he did or what might will happen on the next page. He will be eager to see what happens. Not only is this interactive, but asking questions together can help aid your son’s comprehension of the story.

Encourage Reading Along

If your son can read encourage him to read with you. You can take turns reading a page. Hearing you read will encourage him to model your good reading skills. If your son is younger and just learning to read, books that have a lot of repetition will encourage him to read along with you. Kids can anticipate the familiar, repetitive lines and say them along with you. Even if they are not actually reading the words, saying them while seeing the words on the page will help your son recognize and start to make associations. That’s a great first step to reading!

Step it up

Another great benefit to reading aloud is introducing your son to stories above his independent reading level. Reading aloud a story that is a challenging read, but that is on his emotional level or about a topic meaningful to him helps to put even more stories within your son’s reach. It will also provide the opportunity to hear and understand higher level vocabulary words.

My first experience with a chapter book was in the third grade. I was not ready to read one on my own, but my third grade teacher read Superfudge aloud to our entire class 30 minutes at a time. When it was time to tackle a chapter book on my own, the thought of reading a book with no pictures didn’t seem so scary anymore! The experience not only encouraged my confidence, but also opened my imagination early to stories I would not have been able to read on my own.

Reading aloud with your son will help him develop good reading habits by learning from your example, encouraging his comprehension and associating reading with fun.

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