Yes! Here’s why:
- A child’s reading level doesn’t catch up with a child’s listening level until eighth grade, according to Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook. A younger child can appreciate a book she cannot read yet—the plot, the descriptions, the characters and the vocabulary—if an adult reads it aloud to her.
- Reading aloud to a child attracts him to reading by himself. He takes pleasure from being read to, and will want more of that pleasure even if an adult is not available to read to him. He will delight in life-long reading.
- Books contain rich vocabulary, words more numerous than what we parents say on an everyday basis to our children. Children learn the vocabulary from the books we read aloud because we pronounce the words properly and because we explain them to our children. With such a rich vocabulary they are better prepared to understand their teachers and the reading they do on their own.
- In books read aloud, children hear more sophisticated grammar than they read in grade-level books. Subconsciously they learn good grammar.
- Good books contain the kind of values we want to pass on to our children. Reading these books aloud offers opportunities to discuss these values with our children.
- Reading to fidgety children increases their attention span. It gives them practice sitting and listening which they need to do in school to succeed since so much school instruction is verbal.
- Read-aloud time is bonding time. Do you remember in To Kill a Mockingbird how first grader, Scout, would sit on her father’s lap while he read legal papers aloud? She didn’t care what he read. It was their special time together.