Listening to my husband read aloud to my four-year-old from Prince Caspian of The Chronicles of Narnia amazes me. The language is sophisticated, even for an adult reader, and I sometimes wonder if, at four, he is truly understanding the story. Maybe he doesn’t catch all of it, but he does comprehend most of it.
Maybe your child isn’t quite ready for the Narnia series yet, but don’t assume that he or she is unable to handle longer stories with more sophisticated language.
If your child is preschool age, then try to read an early chapter book, such as a book from the Mercy Watson series. If your child is in elementary school, maybe try a classic read aloud like Peter Pan or Black Beauty. Your child’s enjoyment and understanding will most likely surprise you!
The benefits of reading aloud are numerous and include:
- Improved comprehension
- Improved vocabulary
- Modeling fluency
I propose, however, that we take some other points into consideration as we read aloud to our children.
Age is just a number
Reading aloud to children is absolutely essential and most parents know this and practice it – especially in the young baby, toddler and preschool years.
However, as children get older, and especially as they learn to read independently, it’s easy to think that they are getting enough time reading in the classroom or that their independent reading is sufficient. This is not the case. Even older children still need to be read aloud to and often.
Consider book quality
A child’s receptive language is often far more advanced than their spoken language, so don’t be afraid of books with big words.
Both picture books and chapter books can be an excellent source of rich language and knowledge, so choose to read aloud books that will help your child to be mesmerised by the story while being exposed to new vocabulary and ideas.
Extend cultural literacy & background knowledge
We all know that books expose children to ideas and information – information that will serve your child later in life when they encounter new ideas. The background knowledge gives them ‘a peg’ (of sorts) to which they can connect the new information.
So read aloud as much as you can, and from as many genres as you can. When you find a great book, your child can learn to love a new genre and at the same time his or her background knowledge and cultural literacy will expand.
The Chronicles of Narnia Series is Finn and daddy’s series. The storyline and characters are like a special secret bond they share; these moments provide for special memories and relationship building.
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