Monday, November 05, 2007

Reading Aloud to Children: Tips for Happy, Successful Readers

NAMC montessori reading aloud to children tips for happy successful readers
Last week I wrote about the joys of reading aloud to my son, Nathaniel. Even when you have a child who seems to devour books, reading is not always easy for them. Here are some possible roadblocks and solutions to reading aloud to all ages.

Reading Aloud to Children: Tips for Happy, Successful Readers

  • Did I say devour? What do you do when you find your infant literally eating his way through his favorite board book? Gently remind him books are for reading and substitute something appropriate to soothe his teething gums.
  • Short attention span? Encourage your child to sit and listen, but don’t force them to do so. Involve them by asking them to hold the book or turn the pages. Another way to help keep them involved is to ask them questions about what was just read, or make predictions about what’s going to happen next. Or try replacing the main character’s name with that of your child.
  • If a story is not working, it’s okay not to finish it. Many of us were raised with once you started a book, you had to finish it. I always tell my Montessori students, if you really don’t like the book, put it away and find one you do like. Reading should be enjoyable, not a chore. If you just can’t justify not finishing the book, skip a few pages or passages in order to finish it more quickly. Most importantly, don’t read stories that you don’t enjoy yourself; your children will see right through it!
  • It’s okay for the child to ask questions. Be prepared to be interrupted. Children are thinking all the time they are listening to the book being read. What does that word mean? Why did she do that? You know what I think…? All these are signs that your child is really listening and thinking about what’s being read. Take the time to patiently answer their questions and then resume your reading.
  • With our busy schedule, it’s hard to find the time to read at night. The saying is that we find time for that which we value. If we truly value reading aloud to our students or children, then we will find the 10-15 minutes it takes to drop everything and read to them. That’s all it takes. It’s the quality of time spent together, not the quantity.

Jim Trelease (The Read-Aloud Handbook) states that “when the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) compared the reading skills of 210,000 students from 32 different countries, it found the highest scores (regardless of income level) among: children who were read to by their teachers, and children who read the most pages for pleasure daily."

So, amidst all the work that needs to be done in the Montessori classroom and at home, no matter how tired you are, take the time to sit down and read with your children. It’s one of the best things you can do.

Read more on our series: Reading Aloud to Children: Modeling and Bonding
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Monday, November 5, 2007.


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