Reading Aloud with Children Promotes Bonding

For all the years I homeschooled my four children one thing was a constant. As soon as they had made their lunches, we all sat down at the table and I read aloud to them as they ate. Naturally this prolonged the lunch hour but that was fine with all of us. We worked our way through classics by Dickens and my children loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. I don’t believe we gave a lot of thought to just how much these shared times meant to us and the bonds we forged. This fact was brought home to me recently when I read a critics discussion of why it is crucial to read aloud to children.

Busy lives and the embrace of technology is forcing the children of today to zoom past childhood and many moments of shared warmth with family members. If families take the time to read aloud to their children then they often stop the practice as soon as the child starts to read on their own or can be read to by a device. I assure you that in our family reading sessions around the lunch table engaged my 12 year-old in what the story shared as much as the 4 year-old. They may have been visualizing the action in different ways and feeling different emotions but they were both deeply enthralled. These moments of reading together not only pulled us together physically but also emotionally and created little points in time where we shared dreams and visions never to happen the same way again.

From a learning standpoint I believe being read aloud to taught my children to listen. to exercise their minds in order to make sense of what they were hearing, ask questions and delve further into subjects they may never had encountered otherwise. Many people will say an iPad or audio book can read aloud but these devices lack the warmth factor. They cannot wrap an arm around a child, share a joke or stop and explain what a “curmudgeon” is. Looking back as a parent I realize those moments shared with my children were as meaningful to me as to them. I will never forget the awe on my children’s face, as I cried while reading about a pet that had died in the night in a book. My children delighted in consoling me and offering assurance that the dog had been old and was no longer suffering. No other means than reading aloud could have created this shared emotional experience. If you can’t read aloud to your child daily then please take the time to do so as often as possible, the rewards you will feel will be outstanding.

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