Reading Aloud Ain't Rocket Science

I was eavesdropping on my husband reading aloud to our daughter the other night, and I was very impressed.  He was doing so many great read-aloud things with a familiar and much loved book.  He paused to allow her to jump in with words she knew, he invited her to make predictions about the text, he encouraged her to investigate the illustrations for further clues, and he varied the volume and pace of his voice according to the story.  I smiled to myself as I listened in on their reading time.

When she was tucked in for the night and he finally emerged from her room I said, “Nicely done. Have you been listening to me reading that one with her?”  He looked at me blankly and said “Nuh?” with a shrug.

It suddenly hit me how incredibly arrogant my question, and my thinking was.  My  husband wasn’t copying me.  He was using his own common sense!

Sometimes as an educator I forget that you don’t actually need a teaching degree to be able to teach a young child.  There was so much fantastic teaching and learning going on in my daughter’s bedroom without a B.Ed in sight.  How did my husband know what to do then?  He simply:

  • modeled good reading
  • shared the book with his child
  • engaged in meaningful conversation
  • made the book exciting
  • remembered the way he was read to as a child himself

There are thousands of posts floating around the blogosphere telling parents how to read with their children.  Heck, I’ve even written some of them!  Ironic then, that the lesson I learnt this week about young children and reading came from within my own home.  The lesson?  Reading aloud isn’t ain’t rocket science!

To all the parents (without a B.Ed) reading this, I want to reassure you that you don’t need any special training to do a good job of reading aloud to your child.  You have the tools you need, so just spend time with your child and a book every day.  Engage with your child, engage with the book, and let yourself enjoy it just a little.

PS – Sorry Honey.  Ego put back in its place where it belongs :-/


This post is part of the July Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival.
The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners all the time. This month our theme is “English”, including Speaking, Listening, Reading and Viewing. I think our bloggers have covered all of these and there are lots of resources and game ideas, plus a giveaway. Please read through to the end to find links to the other participating blogs.

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Visit Science@home to find out more about the Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival. Teach/Learn

Please take the time to visit the other participants and check out their posts on “English.”

  • Monique at Your Cheeky Monkey has written about why her family thinks storytelling is so important, some storytelling ideas, and a few of their favorite books.
  • Julie at Works For Me Homemaking is encouraging sound play with preschoolers and not just for fun. It is an important tool to develop sound awareness skills and enhance early literacy development.
  • Staci from Teaching Money to Kids reminds us that sometimes language and interaction need to be explicitly taught and practiced, and has some ways to teach the language of sharing.
  • Leechbabe from Stuff with Thing asks what happens when your child interprets everything said to them in a very literal way? How do you aid their understanding of the funny things people say?
  • Lisa at SMMART Ideas has a LETTER MATCHING activity to help you practice spelling words, or even foreign language vocabulary.
  • Deb from Science@home has a giveaway to help you go on an expedition on your bookshelf.
  • Colin Wee at Super Parents is teaching his kids to argue by learning how to create a reasoned argument for English creative writing and the OREO Acronym.
  • The Planning Queen from Planning With Kids had her own bookclub when she and her son read the same book. It was a great experience to have a book discussion with her son where she hadn’t been reading the story “to him”.
  • Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori agrees with Maria Montessori that young children have a natural love of learning. Thanks to matching Montessori sandpaper letters with small objects, her son decided as a toddler that learning to read was just a fun game.
  • Amanda at HomeAge posts that we all know The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but Eric Carle has so much more to offer to young readers, particularly those interested in the natural world. With bright, beautiful artworks and simple, repetitive stories these books are a wonderful way to entice the young “reader”.
  • Miss Carly from Early Childhood Resources has steps and advice in creating a literacy rich environment for children of all ages.
  • Christie at Childhood 101 points out that the process of sharing stories through oral storytelling is an age old tradition amongst families, but does it have a place in our busy modern day family life?
  • Sarah at Bringing up Baby Bilingual describes her public library’s Writing Buddies program where high school student volunteers lead groups of at-risk fourth and fifth graders through a series of outer-space-themed writing activities. Writing prompts and resources included in the post!
  • CatWay at Adventures With Kids asks What is phonics all about? Is this something I should know more about to help my child learn to read and write?
  • Narelle from A Bunch of Keys has some simple suggestions for making your own literacy resources for children at home. Includes ideas for books with simple rhymes, books with puppets, books about family trips and making felt boards.
  • Zoe at Playing By the Book has gone fishing for words in illustrated dictionaries to support her early reader.

Thanks for visiting our carnival, we hope you enjoy some of these posts and have found some interesting blogs.

20 thoughts on “Reading Aloud Ain't Rocket Science

  1. I’ve just left bedtime story time and come to read this, and have to smile. It was a fight to be able to read a book (Dadda and Princess make up their bedtime stories, something I cannot do!), but we read one new book, and an old favourite. Both were so fun to read, and the bed was full of giggles and copying the actions of the story, linking it with what we have done today and what we will do tomorrow. It’s my favourite part of the day, and not just for the anticipated peace afterwards :D
    .-= amandab´s last blog ..A Fool and His Honey by Charlaine Harris =-.

  2. Beautifully put.

    I often envy my husband his actors training when reading as he can do lots of exciting voices and make the story seem so much more alive. But sitting together and cuddling while reading a good book is so much fun too.

  3. So simple. So true.

    My hardest challenge was showing an interest in the books my child loved which I hated, like the Disney books. It was then I truly realised that there are children’s books for children and children’s books for adults…! The real winners are those that appeal to all ages.
    .-= Juliet´s last blog ..Sandpits Outside – ROAR! =-.

  4. I remember reading that for kids one of the best things about hearing you read to them is simply the reassuring sound of your voice – I found it very reassuring that them being in my arms and listening to my (not so) dulcet tones was good enough!
    .-= Zoe @ Playing by the book´s last blog ..Fishing for words =-.

  5. Congratulations Ego on your B.Life. Professor Squiggledad and his tutors have taught you well ;)

    I must say the most pertinent lessons my ego gets are from the Dean of life himself – Master 3 and the Head of Common Sense – Miss 5! So happy to have such fine teachers :)

    I really enjoy your posts on Reading Cath, your love of literature bubbles out of each and every one of them.

  6. Was talking to my kids (now 16 & 13) the other day, and neither of them remembers how we used to read to them every night! (up until they were school aged at least).

    :-(

    We do have photographic proof though!!!!
    .-= Janet´s last blog ..Party Time! =-.

  7. I remember a friend once telling me in amazement about overhearing her husband reading aloud to their infant daughter–he was literally reading the book cover-to-cover, right down to the info on the copyright page, because he just figured it was worth hearing too. (And right he was!)

  8. I used to try and entertain my son whilst reading and to make sure he was really listening, at the end of the story I would include really difficult questions pertaining to either the story or the pictures in the book. For instance, I’d ask how many fishes there were when the Rainbow Fish was asked for one of his scales. Incredibly, young children can pick up so much more from a story book than just purely from what they pick up auditorily from you reading. Good story! :-) Colin
    .-= Colin Wee´s last blog ..Teach English So Kids Can Argue =-.

  9. Two things I have always done, read to my children and get them to read to me. It does not matter if they can’t read as long as they look at the pictures and tell a story in sequence. When my eldest child was 4 she used to sit and read to her 3yearold and 2year old sisters and they loved it

  10. I have also found the bathtub to be a captivating location for reading books to my little girls!…so important for our little ones to feel our love while we’re reading.
    .-= SMMART ideas´s last blog .. =-.

  11. LOL, I do the same thing. I always think, when watching my hubs with the kids, he must have learned how to do that from watching me. (I forget that HE is actually pretty good at tuning ME out.) Great post, though, hopefully it will make more parents aware of the great things they are already doing with their kids.

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