Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Read Aloud, Build a Reader!

"Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read" - Dr. Marilyn Jager Adams (Beginning Reading Instruction).

The research shows us that the single most effective intervention for creating successful readers is ... READING!!  It's as simple as that.  If we read to them, one day they will read to us!

Now, we can't all be Jim Dale... but there are a few things we can do to make sure we are creating a fun reading experience.  I know of no better list of read-aloud recommendations than award-winning author Mem Fox's Ten Read Aloud Commandments:
  1. Spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every single day reading aloud.
  2. Read at least three stories a day: it may be the same story three times. Children need to hear a thousand stories before they can begin to learn to read.
  3. Read aloud with animation. Listen to your own voice and don't be dull, or flat, or boring. Hang loose and be loud, have fun and laugh a lot.
  4. Read with joy and enjoyment: real enjoyment for yourself and great joy for the listeners.
  5. Read the stories that kids love, over and over and over again, and always read in the same 'tune' for each book: i.e. with the same intonations on each page, each time.
  6. Let children hear lots of language by talking to them constantly about the pictures, or anything else connected to the book; or sing any old song that you can remember; or say nursery rhymes in a bouncy way; or be noisy together doing clapping games.
  7. Look for rhyme, rhythm or repetition in books for young children, and make sure the books are really short.
  8. Play games with the things that you and the child can see on the page, such as letting kids finish the rhymes, and finding the letters that start the child's name and yours, remembering that it's never work, it's always a fabulous game.
  9. Never ever teach reading, or get tense around books.
  10. Please read aloud every day, mums and dads, because you just love being with your child, not because it's the right thing to do. 
 Above all, I encourage you to be a reading role model!  For years I have said: Monkey see, monkey do.  If you enjoy reading, they will too!

If we truly love reading and we share our love with the children in our care, they can't help but pick up on our enthusiasm.  Little kids are like sponges, soaking up everything they come into contact with.  Best of all, they see their caregivers as the perfect example of everything they want to grow up.  If they see readers, they will soak up reading and will become readers!

Here are two books I have been reading and enjoying with my 13 month old:

Title: Little Fur Family
Author: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrator: Garth Williams
Find this book at your library

The language in this little book is packed with alliteration, making it super-fun to read aloud!
Title: Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy
Author: Jan Thomas
Find this book at your library

I haven't met a Jan Thomas book I didn't love.  This is no exception.  I read this in storytime sight-unseen.  I couldn't help but drawl and twang as I voiced the brave cowboy.  An instant classic!!

Photo: Macfadden Publications

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