Illustration of "Brianna's Book Stop" by Jeffrey Duckworth / Book Cover for WHERE DO DIGGERS SLEEP AT NIGHT? (on the bookmobile) by Christian Slade

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday is "Keep Reading Fun Day" (and what my kids learn from read-alouds)

Father's Day read-aloud on the ferry!
I write children's books, I read children's books and I love children's books. I also care deeply about helping kids to love reading them too.

Since helping kids love reading and books is something I care so much about, I have decided to rename Monday on my blog. Instead of Monday, it is now "Keep Reading Fun Day," and every Monday, I will post about something I'm trying to do to keep reading fun for kids.

Especially as Mommy to a learning-to-read 6-year-old, these tips are super important for me to remember. I want my son  learn how to read. But I also want him to love reading once he has learned how. (And the same for my 4-year-old, once he is ready.)

So, for today's first  "Keep Reading Fun Day", I will focus on the power of Read-Aloud!

Jim Trelease so eloquently explains this power in his amazing book, THE READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK (if you haven't read this, do!). For this post I'm just going to share a few things that my boys learn from our read-alouds:

1. They learn that reading is FUN!

Both boys will ask for book after book (or chapter after chapter), loving this special time together reading their (current) favorite books.

2.  They learn loads of new VOCABULARY.

My 6-year-old is always asking "What does that mean?" and expanding his vocabulary accordingly. And my 4-year-old, who since birth has been loaded with a ton of diagnoses I wish I couldn't pronounce, knows the word "eiderdown" because of Mem Fox's beautiful picture book, TEN LITTLE FINGERS AND TEN LITTLE TOES.

3. They learn that they WANT to learn to read!

Trelease so wonderfully describes reading aloud as a powerful advertisement for reading.  This advertisement is definitely working as a motivator for my oldest. Right now he adores it when we read aloud "Boxcar Children" mysteries to him (we are going through several a week ), and he is willing to do the challenging work of learning to read, so that he will be able to read them on his own some day.

4. They learn that they are part of a COOL CLUB filled with wonderful inside jokes.

When my 6-year-old was at a birthday party recently, somebody mentioned "vermicious knids". His ears perked up and he gave me a big smile. Other people at the party loved CHARLIE AND THE GREAT GLASS ELEVATOR too!

These are just a few of the benefits I've noticed with my own boys. Reading aloud to my students when I was a classroom teacher was always a highlight of our school day and had loads of similar benefits!

***So, what benefits do you notice when you read aloud to kids?


  1. Love it! I definitely encourage my kids to love reading (and anyone else I can convince!).

    1. That's awesome, Katie! I completely agree with you! I so want to do everything I can to help my kids to love reading (and anyone else I can happen to convince too :)).

  2. I remember that I *couldn't wait* to learn to read (the neighbor boy got sick of my begging him to read to me also. My kids were such early readers that I never understood the reluctant-reader phenomenon. Good ideas^!

    1. Hi Mirka-- I also have early memories of loving books and being eager to read. :o) And I agree, if a kid naturally learns to read early (which I did as a kid), it can help to avoid many of the challenges of the reluctant reader. So awesome your kids were such early readers! Some kids really want to read, and have difficulty learning. And then it can be a challenge to keep them interested and loving reading as they work to learn to read. So glad you liked these ideas!

  3. Great post, Brianna. I'm a life-long lover of READ-ALOUDS! My 8 year-old daughter and I team-read-aloud at bedtime each night. And lately, my son, who's twelve and a voracious reader, has asked if he and I can also have some special read-aloud time. Request granted. And on long car rides, we always enjoy listening to books on tape. Reading aloud makes reading a cozy, shared experience and that, in my opinion, makes it extra special and extra fun.

    1. That's awesome, Laura! Team-read-aloud sounds like so much fun! And it is soooo wonderful that your 12-year-old asked for special read-aloud time. (I hope that we will be able to continue our read-alouds around here for a long, long time. :o) )