Why is reading aloud so important?

  • By reading aloud with your child and encouraging them to read on their own, you are helping them become better readers, better listeners, and better students. Reading aloud builds many important foundational skills, introduces vocabulary, provides a model of fluent, expressive reading, and helps children recognize what reading for pleasure is all about.

    Reading aloud demonstrates the relationship between the printed word and meaning – children understand that print tells a story or conveys information – and invites the listener into a conversation with the author. By modeling how fluent readers think about the text and problem solve as they read, we make the invisible act of reading visible.

    Modeling encourages children to develop the "habits of mind" proficient readers employ. Helping children find and make connections to stories and books requires them to relate the unfamiliar text to their relevant prior knowledge.

    Here are three comprehension strategies that help children become knowledgeable readers.

    1. Connecting the book to their own life experience
    2. Connecting the book to other literature they have read
    3. Connecting what they are reading to universal concepts


    Research Shows Us:

    • Reading aloud is the foundation for literacy development. It is the single most important activity for reading success (Bredekamp, Copple, & Neuman, 2000).
    • It provides children with a demonstration of phrased, fluent reading (Fountas & Pinnell, 1996). • It reveals the rewards of reading, and develops the listener's interest in books and desire to be a reader (Mooney, 1990).
    • Children can listen on a higher language level than they can read, so reading aloud makes complex ideas more accessible and exposes children to vocabulary and language patterns that are not part of everyday speech. This, in turn, helps them understand the structure of books when they read independently (Fountas & Pinnell, 1996).
    • Selecting a wide range of culturally diverse books will help all children find and make connections to their own life experiences, other books they have read, and universal concepts. (Dyson & Genishi, 1994)
    • Parents and teachers can encourage and support thinking, listening, and discussion, and model "think-alouds," which reveal the inner conversation readers have with the text as they read (Harvey & Goudvis, 2000).