Reading books out loud to our children before they can read is almost normal and part of many people’s bedtime routines.  The time when children can read quietly and independently is worked towards and encouraged.  Reading silently has become more socially normal than reading out loud.  Reading out loud is saved for bedtime stories with children, performances or in the classroom. 

Reading out loud can be just as beneficial to young children, older children, and adults.  There are studies showing that reading out loud as a family can be beneficial to everyone in the family.  Back centuries ago, the word to read literally meant to cry out.  Think of town criers, who would yell the news out for people to hear.

Young children benefit from reading out loud.  It can help them increase their attention span.  Sitting and reading books with your children, over time they will start to be able to sit for longer and longer stories.  This helps them learn to pay attention when someone is speaking or reading out loud.  It can also help with future learning and being able to hear instructions that are given out loud.  

Reading out loud to younger children also helps them build their vocabulary.  They are hearing new words, in new contexts.  The more words they are exposed to the more words they will know.  If you don’t know a word that they ask about, make it a point to look it up together.  Help them learn meanings of words through context.  It also helps them start to identify the connection between written and spoken words.  It can also help them start to see single letters and how they play a part in building into words. 

Young children can benefit from reading out loud because it increases their brain power.  Studies have shown that children who were consistently read out loud to had stronger visual imagery skills, story comprehension, and word meaning. 

Reading with your children is a great way to bond with them.  It can be a special time that you have specifically set aside for the two of you.  Or a time for the whole family to gather together and read out loud.  It can strengthen relationships.  It can help with communication between children and adults because you have something in common you have dived into together to bring up later in conversations.  

Reading out loud also shows your child that reading is important to you and is fun.  Children mimic what they see.  If they see that you take the time to sit and read out loud to them, or sit and read quietly to yourself they will see that it is important to do the same.  Most children enjoy being read to.  So they see it as a form of entertainment.  They will have a link between reading and something that is enjoyable which will help encourage them to continue reading. 

Reading out loud is not just beneficial for young children.  Learning letters, words, and having special bonding time is extremely important.  There are benefits for older children and adults as well though who take the time to read out loud.  

One of these benefits is memory improvement.  Forming the actual words and speaking them out loud helps your brain to remember them more effectively.  Words become distinctive when a physical movement is accompanied with them.  When you are studying for your next test, think about reading your notes out loud to help you remember them more.  

Reading out loud at a different reading level than your audience has can help keep them engaged.  What this means is, if you have a child that reads at a 5th grade level, read them books that are higher than that.  They can understand plots of books at a higher reading level, they may not have the vocabulary or patience to get through the book on their own yet.  So reading them something that is interesting and gets them excited can help them want to continue reading in the future and grow their reading skills.  Reading different books can also help learn about different cultures, lifestyles, struggles others go through.  This can help create empathy and awareness.  

Another benefit is it can help bring up conversations that are otherwise difficult.  If you are reading a book about bullying at school, this can help you slide easily into a conversation with your family on how others have dealt with, or witness bullying in their own lives.  It can help spark conversations to keep going even after you are done reading out loud.  Topics can be navigating different emotions, or relationships. 

Reading out loud increases comprehension.  It sharpens focus.  It can also help with learning how to eliminate distractions.  It is so easy to become distracted, but when you are hearing something read out loud your brain has a tendency to put its focus on hearing the words and forming them in your brain. 

Books are here for entertainment.  Reading out loud can be just as entertaining.  Audiobook sales increase every year by 25-30%.  That shows that we all enjoy being read to.  Some people feel like they have more time to have a book read to them then they have to sit and read a book silently.  

Reading out loud is beneficial for all age ranges.  Family “read alouds” can bring the family together.  Help show the importance of reading.  Be a fun way to entertain when you don’t have anything else to do.  Build relationships, increase brain power, and improve memory.  Bedtime stories don’t have to end when your child learns to read, everyone can benefit from reading out loud.  



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Reading out loud can be just as beneficial to young children, older children, and adults!

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