Read to your child, regardless of how old they are

Whether consciously or subconsciously, many parents stop reading to their children once they have learnt to read themselves; reading aloud is often considered something you do only with young children who can’t yet read.

Listening to a story being read aloud must be an enjoyable experience. In 2017, 5.7 million adults in the UK bought or listened to an audiobook (and we suspect a lot of them can read!).

Listening to your child read, and you reading aloud to them, are two very different activities with two very different outcomes.

Here’s why reading to a child of any age is vitally important...

Reading isn’t just about deciphering the words on the page. If you aren’t extracting any meaning from those words then you aren’t reading. Children are still using much of their brain power to decode individual words leaving little brain capacity to process their collective meaning. In short, by hearing the words read aloud, a child has time to picture, imagine and connect to a story. They can focus on what’s actually happening.

A child’s reading level doesn’t catch up with their listening level until around the age of 14. Without any discussion, a child can handle more complex language and content when they hear it read aloud.

Reading aloud to older children has both academic and emotional benefits. They can be exposed to more complex vocabulary, in context, which you can discuss and reinforce. And, you have the opportunity to explore emotive or sensitive subjects in a guided way - helping build empathy.

It gives you a joint interest and the opportunity to stimulate discussion outside of book reading. Making connections is an important part of comprehension; by reading with your child you are able to help them see how what they have read connects to their lives or the lives of others.

You have the power to influence their perception of reading. Reading a story aloud with voices and expression not only helps them to better understand the meaning but it also makes reading exciting. Try to end your reading on a cliffhanger and listen to them beg for more!

You get the sheer pleasure of legitimately reading (or re-reading) some amazing children’s books!

Check out some of these great books from Coram Beanstalk’s Author Supporters to read aloud with older children.

Maz Evans – Who Let the Gods Out?
Lisa Thompson – Goldfish Boy
Piers Torday – The Last Wild