Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Reading Aloud Important

We stumbled upon this excellent blog post by Gretchen from another website and also suggest to you the resource of the Read Aloud Handbook as a great resource to get started -- we hope it inspires you to read aloud to your children daily!  ~~RR

I had always assumed that a good reader would naturally make a good writer.

Not so, according to Andrew Pudewa of the Institute for Excellence in Writing.

“The fundamental requisite for being an excellent communicator”?  Reading aloud.

Because when we’re reading silently, what do we do?  We speed read.  We skip over the words we don’t know.  We hardly pay any attention to the articles or to the pronouns.

But when we read aloud — or listen to something being read aloud — we absorb the sentence structure, the syntax, and the verbs.  And the more we listen to the language patterns, the more our brain memorizes the form, creating mental templates of excellent writing , building a “rich database of reliably correct and sophisticated language.”

Andrew Pudewa encourages parents to read aloud to their children as much as possible (at least two hours per day), at a level slightly above the oldest student’s reading ability (“decoding skills”, he calls it).  “Understanding is highly overrated,” he says.  “You’re building syntax.”

It is amazing what they pick up.  Our 4-year-old’s vocabulary grows exponentially each time she listens to the radio theater editions of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Radio Theatre: Chronicles of Narnia)
or Little Women (Radio Theatre)

Two hours per day may not sound possible to some parents.  But there’s an easy substitute for some of that read-aloud time: audio books!  You can find many free and low-cost downloads at these websites:

Since attending Pudewa’s Nurturing Competent Communicators workshop (of which you can download a free and fascinating MP3 on his website), we’ve been listening to more audio books, individually, as a couple, and as a family.  We’ve also been making a more concentrated effort to read aloud to our girls — a process the whole family enjoys!

But it’s not just for parents of young children.  “We usually stop reading aloud when they most desperately need us to continue,” says Andrew Pudewa.  We stop reading when they can read on their own — which is just when they can learn and absorb more than ever!

So don’t stop reading aloud…at least not until everyone’s snoring.

“We do not homeschool so we can get up early — we homeschool so we can stay up late reading out loud.”  -Andrew Pudewa at a Nurturing Competent Communicators workshop
March 7 is World Read Aloud Day.  What are you reading aloud today?