The Power of Read Alouds

I have long loved being read to and have specific memories from my school years of teachers reading to the class. When I was in second grade, Mrs. Cain would read to us after lunch. Everyone would sit at their desks with their heads down, and the lights would remain off. The dimness was broken only by the light of the reading lamp on the teacher’s desk.

It was during second grade that I first fell in love with Fern, Wilbur, and Templeton. I cried a little when Charlotte died and again when her little ones flew away and left Wilbur.

Mrs. Cain must have had a fondness for E. B. White, because after Charlotte’s Web, she read to us The Trumpet of the Swan and Stuart Little. More than 30 years later, these memories are rich and strong.

In the sixth grade, I went to middle school, and Mrs. McEachern was my homeroom, social studies, reading, and language arts teacher. When she could squeeze it in, Mrs. McEachern would read to us, only a chapter a day, despite how much we begged for more. Only once do I remember her breaking that rule, and that was during Dolphin Island, a little known young audience novel by the great, science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke. Another book she introduced to us was Johnny Tremain, which fueled my love of American history. Again, it’s about 30 years later, and these books live strongly in my mind.

Reading to children, at any age, holds great benefit. For our PreK children, our purposes may include developing vocabulary knowledge, teaching print concepts, or building a love of reading. Have you ever considered that reading aloud to children shows them that they matter to you? We sometimes forget about the aesthetic purposes for reading.

The Little Ones Reading Resource offers a full list of reasons to read aloud to children with supporting evidence for each. Check out the full list here.

About

I train Georgia PreK teachers and dabble a bit in the art of blogging. Have an idea for a blog post? Email me at bestpractices@gsu.edu. On the web: www.bestpractices.gsu.edu Facebook: www.facebook.com/bestpracticespk Twitter: @bestpracticespk

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