A couple of weeks ago I read “Qui suis-je?” (Who am I?) to my class – a story that is written as a riddle. Clues are given about the sea animal and keep the children guessing until the last page. We enjoyed the Read Aloud and afterwards I asked the children to write their own riddle. Today I would like to share some of my favourites with you:
Before putting the riddles up on the bulletin board, the class and I sat in a circle while each child had a turn to read their riddle. We had fun guessing the answer.
When one thinks of reading aloud to your children, you think of stopping when they have reached the ability to read to themselves. But should you?
I began reading to my children when they were very young (they could not even sit on their own yet). We would sit on the couch/floor/bed and read cardboard picture books together – and even flip though the pages of a magazine. Part of our bedtime ritual was reading a story (one each) before they were tucked into bed for the night. My children reached the stage of independent reading and slowly the story times stopped. Bedtime stories were slowly taken over by audio books, and then their own silent and independent reading.
Recently, however, the read aloud story time has crept back into our routine. It began with my daughter reading to her dad what she had read on the Titanic (the topic had come up during one of our dinner conversations). This led to my other daughter reading a related story on the Titanic. Thus began a 20 minute habit after dinner: we continue to sit at the table while someone reads. The reader may be either of my daughters, but is often myself.
I decided to introduce the children to C.S.Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia during the read aloud time. We began to read the first book in the series: The Magician’s Nephew. The children were enthralled and did not want me to stop reading. Reading The Chronicles of Narnia to them, I am introducing them to a genre that they would not have read on their own.
After eating, once the table has been cleared, we sit at our places and enter the magical world of Narnia. The children listen silently, and come sit close – reminding me of those times I had read to them when they were younger. And they do not want me to stop … We read only a chapter a day, and the next day they eagerly clear the table and get ready to listen once again.
Why should I continue to read aloud to my children, even though they can read to themselves?
Read Alouds builds their listening comprehension skills: skills which will help them, not only for school, but also for later on in life. In addition, listening to the stories helps them to work on their attention span.
Their vocabulary increases. I can explain unfamiliar words and terms to them as we come across them.
Their memory improves as they concentrate on remembering what they have heard.
They develop their imagination. Instead of seeing images that have been created for them in film, they can use their imagination to create their own images.
Introduce them to different genres and styles of writing.
I can ask them questions to see whether they have understood the sequence of the story.
I can also ask them what they think will happen in the next chapter – this will help them in their prediction skills, an important skill for reading.
Reading the stories may bring about a teachable moment – a moment during which we can speak about a topic that is brought up in the story.
It is another way in which I can spend time with my children and foster my relationship with them.
Do you read aloud to your children? What book are you currently reading to them?