The one activity that can help your child enjoy school more than anything else: Reading aloud. Most parents read to their toddlers and young children, but phase that practice out as their children reach school age. But the truth is that even much older students can benefit from reading aloud. Reading aloud helps students:
- Improve their vocabularies. Children can listen to stories that are well beyond their current reading level and still understand and enjoy them.
- Gain stronger listening skills. By reading stories aloud and asking your child questions, you can help your child learn to listen and interpret information.
- Improve critical reading skills. Students often find it difficult to understand the deeper meaning of the stories they read themselves. By reading aloud, you can help your child learn to examine literature for deeper meaning by making predictions and discussing the material. Your child will then be able to apply these skills to their own reading.
- Enjoy literature. By making reading an enjoyable activity rather than a more difficult task, you can help your child learn to enjoy stories, a trait which will pay off in dividends later on.
In fact, even high school students can benefit from reading aloud, as one former high school teacher points out: “The students thought my reading aloud to them helped them understand the context, brought out sub-plot and made the conflict more pronounced.”
If you are wondering how to help your kids enjoy school while improving their literacy skills, story time may be the answer. Consider this childhood memory from one of our own C2 employees:
When my brother and I were in elementary school, our family often vacationed in a rustic cabin in the mountains. We dreaded these vacations because – gasp! – there was no TV! To keep us occupied, our parents created evening story time. My brother and I would choose a novel to read, and the entire family took turns reading aloud from the book. We would argue about what would happen next or debate whether a particular character did the right thing, and we never even remembered to complain about the lack of television! To this day I remember those nights fondly – not for the stories we read, but for the time we spent together as a family.