In it for the long haul… the benefits of reading aloud to older kids

It’s no secret that reading aloud benefits young children, preschoolers, and even newborns. According to Catherine Pearson at The Huffington Post, “…researchers have hard evidence that reading aloud activates the parts of preschoolers’ brains that help with mental imagery and understanding narrative — both of which are key for the development of language and literacy.”

But, did you know that reading aloud shouldn’t stop when kids can read on their own?

Reading aloud to older children influences their attitudes and behaviors about reading books for fun. In the Kids and Family Reading Report, published by Scholastic earlier this year, the frequency with which parents read aloud drops significantly after age 5 — and drops even further after age 8.

Liza Baker, the executive editorial director at Scholastic, explains, “As they become independent readers, we tend to let them go, but even kids in older demographics love nothing more than that time with their parents. We’re blown away that kids time and again said the most special time they recall spending with a parent is reading together.”

How to make read aloud time fun for older kids

Let them choose. 89% of kids ages 6 to 17 surveyed for the Kids and Family Report agree that the favorite books “are the ones that I have picked out myself.”

Read UP! A child’s reading level typically doesn’t catch up to his listening level until eighth grade. By reading above the child’s reading level, you challenge their intellect and imagination, as well as provide motivation to read increasingly complex texts.

It’s storytime. Reading aloud allows older children to appreciate a great story without the chore of reading for meaning. What better way to keep kids hooked on reading?!

10 outstanding books to read aloud to older kids

Need some book suggestions to get started? Here are 10 of our personal faves:

  1. Danny the Champion of the Worldby Roald Dahl 
  2. The Mouse and the Motorcycleby Beverly Cleary 
  3. City of Emberby Jeanne DuPrau
  4. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyleby Avi
  5. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
  6. My Side of the Mountainby Jean Craighead George
  7. Peter and the Star Catchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
  8. Summer of the Monkeysby Wilson Rawls
  9. Wonderby R.J. Palacio
  10. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier & Christopher Collier

 

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