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Read Aloud: What we have learned as a Family
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” —Emilie Buchwald
Reading books aloud has been a part of my life from the beginning. I’ve tried to do the same for my own “little” family that I’m raising. I feel that reading aloud books as a family has been around for a long time, but our generation is revitalizing it in large scale.
As with everything, there’s the good and the bad. Let’s start with the bad and end with the good.
It doesn’t always last as long as I dreamed of or hoped for. This can be due to a number of factors from toddler breakdowns to drop in visitors.
Distraction seems to find its way into all areas of our lives and reading holds no exception.
Not every book is a good read aloud book. We’ve had several that we started but had no motivation to finish or no there was no interest in the book. These books we don’t push our way through or we’ll end up hating reading time. We stop it and start a new one.
Too tired. We’ve made the mistake of starting reading time during nap time or too late in the evening and have had people nod off, including, upon rare occasion, the reader. That is never good.
Disruption. It’s hard to read a book and follow the story if there are a million interruptions. I tell them to hold their questions to the end, write down their questions, or draw their question if we have too many at one point and it feels unproductive. If we get to a point where the questions are productive and have taken us to new heights, we’ll put down the book and discuss.
We have read genres or books together that we might not have read separately and learned that we loved. A more recent book was Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry. We’ve own the book series for years, but no one cracked them open. I chose it as a read aloud book and everyone loved it, and one of my daughters went on to finish the series on her own.
We’ve learned discipline and expanded our attention spans. The more we’ve made reading a priority, the more we’ve learned. (See more on this in a recent article I wrote entitled: What Reading Aloud 60 Classic Books Can Do for a Child).
We’ve learned to be committed. Something will come up every time. Commit to commit to reading and enjoy the benefits.
Reading is the best activity to do with your family indoors. It binds the family together with stories, it makes it easy to play games together afterwards. (See our favorite family game: Rory’s Story Cubes)
It encourages interaction (unlike television watching).
Even as an adult, when I hear a story or book being read aloud, my senses become engaged and I enjoy listening as much today as I did growing up.
Nothing is going to be perfect, but know that you’re struggles can be overcome and that you aren’t alone.