Why I Read Aloud to My Kids ~ A Lot!

Studies show that reading aloud to children, especially young children, has a great impact on reading development.  Children who are read to for at least 20 minutes each day actually have been shown to perform higher in kindergarten classrooms than those who don't get that reading time.

I remember learning all of this when getting my Masters, which was something I had never really thought about.  I thought my mom just read to us because she enjoyed it, much like I do now.  The graphic below gives a perfect picture of how reading helps children's vocabulary grow so much.  Which student is going to have the best advantage as reader?

This is true of students who have been read to as well.  Their vocabulary is much higher than those students who have not been read to.

There are many other benefits to reading with your own children (or grandkids, nieces, nephews, neighbors, or even younger siblings).

1.  It helps them learn new vocabulary.  Ginny Beth loves to read the same books over and over and over and over.  We have read the book Freight Train by Donald Crews a million times.  From this book, she has learned her colors and cars on a train.  She can even recite the words in the book.  Such a simple book with a simple message!
2  It teaches directionality.  When you read with a young child, they watch your every move!  They seem to know which page you are on, no matter what.  I have started to point to the words as I read books with my two-year old, and she follows along with me.  Now when she "reads" a book on her own, she looks at the words in a left to right fashion.

3.  Reading aloud aids in comprehension.  Now that Zack is going into the fourth grade, I still read aloud to him.  Right now we are in the midst of the Harry Potter series.  Since there are no pictures, he has to visualize everything in the book for himself.  When he watched the movie six weeks after finishing the first book, he actually noticed the differences.  It shows me how much he was paying attention to the contents of the book!

4.  Children can ask questions, lots of them!  By nature, children are curious.  So, when reading aloud to them, they can stop and ask questions about what is happening in the book, on their own terms.  In school, the teacher doesn't always stop for questions because there may not be enough time.  While reading the Harry Potter books, Zack doesn't always ask the questions right at the moment we are reading.  He asks in the car, in the grocery store, at dinner, and any old time.  Many times he is predicting and wants the answer, but I always tell him that we will have to keep reading!

I have always read aloud to my two kids, since before they were born.  Yes, I was that mom!  My parents read aloud to each of us every single night for as long as I can remember.  As I became a Mom, I realized the importance of reading with my children for at least 20 minutes each day.  And it has worked beautifully!
Zack reading to Ginny Beth

When Zack was little, I told my husband that if he had a reading issue, it will not be because of something I did not do, and I knew that reading aloud to him was important for his reading development.  Our reading time together has become a nightly tradition, and one that Zack looks forward to each night.  He will actually be ready for bed at least 20 minutes earlier than he has to go to bed, just so he can get some good reading and cuddle time in.

I am so saddened to hear the stories of my students who have never been read to.  It breaks my heart because I know that they have not had that special time when learning takes them to new places.

Reading aloud doesn't always have to happen at the same time, just make it happen!

So, what books do you like to read aloud?

Don't forget to link up with Book Talk Thursday and tell us some of your favorite books!  They don't have to be read alouds!


  1. I can't agree with you more. I can remember my now 9 year old son negotiating to read more books each night. I would read 10 books some nights because he really loved it. I feel he always has had an excellent vocabulary because of it. Love of reading really is the key!

    1. Isn't it great when they have that love of reading, especially for boys?! I don't want him to grow up because we enjoy that reading time so much!


  2. I definitely agree with you about the power of read aloud. I still remember my sister and I climbing into my parents' bed as my mom read aloud to us each night. Popular choices included all of the books in the Berenstain Bears series!

    Eclectic Educating

  3. Reading aloud is SO incredibly important and it starts so young. I wish I could convey that to the parents of my students. It's vital and they more than miss the boat. I made my husband promise to read aloud to our kids even though he is not a huge reader himself. I keep telling him, "It's important that they see you read!" Luckily, he agrees.

    The Teaching Thief

  4. Reading to your children is very important. I know that a lot of the students in my class have not been read to and reading together is not something that happens at night. I find it frustrating when parents ask what can they do to help their child but don't really listen when I say "Read with them". What great rich traditions and skills your are developing with your children, kuddos!

    Looking From Third to Fourth

  5. Andrea,
    I love getting a glimpse of life with your children after hearing all about Zack during our internship. I love this blog post...great inspiration for parents as much as teachers. I will certainly revisit this when I prepare my next parent workshop. Great stuff!

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