Top 3 Tips to Reading Aloud to Kids ages 8-12
Published January 28th, 2021 • ~5 minutes to read
Are you struggling to read to your elementary or middle school child?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Most parents understand the importance of reading aloud to their children, but a high percentage of parents stop reading aloud when a child enters kindergarten or learns to read.
Parents may think their child is too old, that their child is just fine reading on their own, or that they don’t have enough time to read with them. However, it’s very important to continue reading aloud to your children even after they begin to read.
Reading aloud helps children to love literature and improves their reading abilities.
Yes, that’s right! Reading aloud to children immensely improves their reading ability. It has been shown to be the number 1 factor in helping children learn to read and is the most significant factor in the development of literacy levels of young children.
So now you can be rest assured that reading aloud to your growing child isn’t childish—it truly helps them become better readers themselves!
*Cue commercial voice* But wait, the benefits of reading aloud to your children don’t end there!
Studies have shown that children who have been read to do much better in national literacy tests and their reading comprehension and vocabulary are greater than those of their peers.
And get this, reading aloud to your children engenders a desire to read books themselves, even those who are less inclined or less able to read.
To me, the best part of reading aloud to children is the valuable bonding experience that is created between parents and their children.
You may be wondering, “what does my child actually think of being read to aloud?” And I feel like a lot of parents have this concern. From my experience, I have seen children, even those in their early teens, really enjoy being read to.
In 2018, there was a study in Australia to determine the attitudes of children (ages 6-12) about being read to. The study found that 78.9% of the children ages 6-8 enjoyed the experience. This high percentage rate is understandable.
The study also found that almost 75% of kids ages 9-12 enjoyed the experience of being read to as well!
I’m as surprised as you from these stats! I knew that some preteens enjoyed being read aloud to (i.e. my own children), but I didn’t realize that so many truly do enjoy the experience.
Knowing this, are you ready to jump all in? It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you’ve last read to your kids. Just start today!
If you already read to your preteens, that’s great! I applaud you!
If you are just starting to read aloud to your children, I have a piece of advice: understand that for some children, it takes a little while for it to feel normal and comfortable. Once it becomes a habit though, your children will come to enjoy the experience.
TOP 3 TIPS to Help Your Older Children Enjoy the Experience:
1. Step outside of your comfort zone! Use different voices, accents, be silly/goofy, and read at various speeds. Your ability to be vulnerable with them will allow your kids to do the same! And pacing can dramatically increase the suspense or excitement of the story. (You can read ahead and make a couple of notes in the book to help you.)
2. Chat about the reading. Take a pause every now and again and discuss what you’re reading. Ask your children how they felt when something dramatic, difficult, or wonderful happened. Share your thoughts too. Children want to hear how it relates to your life: they want to see that you’re human. This will cultivate valuable communication. (Be selective about how often you do this. Pausing too often can be distracting.)
3. Make it fun! If you know the characters are going into a cave or will be doing something suspenseful at night, you could turn down or turn off the lights. Just don’t scare your littlest ones :)
BONUS! Find books they will enjoy—this will make it easier to get comfortable in reading aloud together.
The positive impact of reading aloud doesn’t just work at home, it works at school too. Christina Torres, an 8th grade English teacher, wrote about the benefits of reading aloud and reading along to her students.
Her students are more engaged in the readings and have learned to love literature. She’s witnessed her students walk out of class talking about the book and chatting with each other about what they discussed.
In conclusion, there are so many valuable benefits and positive impacts of reading aloud to your children. When you follow those three simple (and super fun!) tips, even your older children will want to snuggle up close to be part of the action!
If you’re interested in learning more check out these additional resources for reading aloud success.
And, if you want an absolutely amazing adventure book to knock your socks off that you can read aloud to your children (ages 4-9), check out Captain Pabbu and the Buried Treasure at Redpandabooks.com.
What have you found successful to enhance your children’s love of reading?
Email me at [email protected]
I’d love to hear your success stories!
Red Panda Books sells personalized children’s adventure books that encourage parents to read with their children and experience adventures together! A portion of the books’ proceeds will be donated to support the Red Panda Network and other organizations that protect endangered species and their habitats.