• Adelle Southall

5 Benefits of Reading Out Loud

Reading is my jam.

It’s my favorite hobby.

It was my favorite in the classroom.

And as you can guess it’s my favorite {and only} thing I tutor.

I CAN NOT get enough of it when a student starts tutoring with the labels of struggling and reluctant reader THEN FINISH with the ability to read and the confidence to read any book they find interesting.

It doesn’t always start so quickly, but when these kiddos hit their stride they are

READY 👏🏼 TO 👏🏼 GO!

And when I see them hitting their stride I celebrate their wins by ordering myself a cookie cake. Cause even the everyday win call for a celebration!

Let's trade the labels of struggle and reluctance for avid and excited!

When I was a classroom teacher my all-time top favorite way to move reluctant readers into excited readers was through reading aloud.

Read alouds are so valuable for so many different reasons

Read Alouds Build a Shared Experience

When you’re reading an engaging story with your child it opens up so many more topics of conversation. When you share an experience you open doors to conversations you might not have had before.

Just recently a student and I read “The Chocolate Touch”, by Patrick Skene Catling. We were able to talk about being greedy like John Midas. We talked about foods we liked and didn’t like. We also were able to talk about the morals of the story and how.

Reading Outloud Provides Positive Modeling

If you want your child to grow into an adult that reads, they need to see an adult that reads. Just as polite kids typically have polite parents, kids who are avid readers typically have parents who are avid readers.

When you’re reading to your child not only are you modeling what a good reader looks like and sounds like, but you’re also modeling being a reader yourself. This is the biggest and most important model reluctant readers need to have. Showing how to read helps with learning how to read.

Not only are you modeling what a good reader looks like and sounds like, but you’re also in a good position to model:

  • Understanding New Vocabulary

  • Comprehension Skills

  • Questioning and thinking about the plot

Reading Aloud Helps Build Your Child’s Imagination

One of the MAIN reasons I love reading fiction is because it provides an escape. In the same way, your child might transport into different worlds in a video game, once they get hooked on a good book they will learn how to escape with those characters.

This can be so helpful as they’re approaching middle and high school. Learning how to take note of how different characters handle their problems will encourage them to think differently about the problems they face daily.

Read Alouds Build Good Listening Habits

Listening skills are just as important as reading skills. They’re even included in the Common Core State Standards.

When your listening skills are lacking it’s harder to make sense of the things you hear. Think about the phones {or zoom calls} that you take every week. You have to be able to listen to information, interact with the information, then act on the information.

If we don’t give our children a chance to build this expertise they’re missing out on some key 21st-century skills they’ll need to survive.

Reading Aloud Supports Struggling Readers

Reading aloud to your child takes the pressure off them and allows them to do what’s typically a challenge, just enjoy a good book.

Remember - listening to reading is the same as reading. EXCEPT - your brain doesn’t have to decode, the hardest part for struggling readers.

When we take decoding off their plates, they’re able to build skills upon skills upon skills

  • Listening

  • Comprehension

  • Vocabulary

  • Problem solution

  • Asking and answering questions

So many of the skills that decoding typically blocks the struggling reader from practicing.

Stories to Read Aloud

I’ve compiled a list of my favorite stories to read aloud.

**The links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.**

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

This book has been enjoyed as a classroom read-aloud for decades. It will pull at your heartstrings, so make sure that you read more about it on Common Sense Media, before you dive in with a sensitive child.

India Opal Buloni, ten years old, goes down to the neighborhood grocery for some groceries—and returns with a dog. But Winn-Dixie isn't your average dog. Opal begins to make acquaintances as a result of Winn-Dixie. And it's thanks to Winn-Dixie that she finally asks her father about Opal's mother, who departed when she was three years old. In fact, Winn-Dixie is to blame for almost everything that happens that summer.

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

I so enjoyed reading this book this spring.

The Penderwicks are such a quirky crew of kids and they sure know how to get themselves into trouble. In this, the first book of the series, the sisters get a vacation surprise. They stay for a month in a cottage in the land of the scary Mrs. Tifton. Their summer is filled with adventures from a loose bull to making friends with Mrs. Tifton’s shy nephew. Each sister has her own personality and her own set of responsibilities.

It’s quite an easy read, allowing for a great introduction to read-alouds with your family.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Ivan, a silverback gorilla, and his friends at the Big Top Mall need to find a way out. They’ve spent their lives entertaining the guests of the mall and being stuck in their cages. That is until they scheme a way out.

I cannot recommend this book enough. So many pause and talk moments. So much to process about how we treat animals and how they want to be treated. Such a good story that will leave you dying to get to the sequel, The One and Only Bob.

The Watsons go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis

This is such a timely novel with both Caldecott and Coretta Scott King awards.

The Watsons go to visit their family in Alabama during some of the most monumental times in the Civil Rights Movement. Follow 10-year-old Kenny and his family as they go visit grandma in hopes of helping Kenny’s older brother. They end up being inside their grandmother's church when it is blown up. Follow the family through laughter and tears as you open a pathway to discussion on huge and important topics.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

For Milo, life is always such a bore. That is until he goes through a mysterious tollbooth that one day appears in his room. Join him as he visits the Island of Conclusions (which you have to jump to), learns lessons about time, and rescues Rhyme and Reason.

This fantasy has been a long-standing read-aloud in elementary schools across the nation. You will not be disappointed and will leave with so many talking points to build bonds with your child over.

The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling

Remember the story of King Midas? Take out the king part and replace it with a chocolate craving 8-year-old who eats WAY too many sweets. This book takes place over the span of 2 days where we follow John Midas through the horrible experience of the whole world turning into his favorite treat, chocolate.

This is one of my favorite books to read with my budding readers as each chapter is quick and to the point. You will not miss any opportunity to talk about greed, gluttony, bullies, and doing the right thing.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

All of my 4th/5th-grade teacher friends read this with their classroom year after year. Even as the school system has taken away our read-aloud times, they’ve found a way to sneak it into their day.

If you want to start discussions on empathy, forgiveness, and moral choices this is the fantasy for you. There are many dark moments throughout this story, but if you stick with it you will see the light.

Despereaux sets out on a quest to rescue Princess Pea from the Rats. He overcomes many inner and outer struggles as he fights his way to free the princess. As with most children’s fairytales, this one ends with a happy ending.

Roll With It by Jamie Sumner

This book is the perfect way to help your child experience different viewpoints on life.

It follows Ellie, a girl in a wheelchair with cerebral palsy. She dreams of becoming a baker someday but for now, she has to learn how to be the new girl in a new town as she and her mother move to a new town to take care of her ailing grandfather. Join Ellie as she makes her first friends ever and learns how to roll with the punches.

Tips For Reading

If you're looking for more reading tips click below to download my tips and tricks for setting reading goals with your child.

Two children reading in a library - Words - Setting Reading Goals With Your Child

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