Reading aloud helps the children

Published 3:22 pm Wednesday, February 4, 2004

By Staff
Sonya Rogers
Reading aloud is one way to let children enter into a larger world- both real and fanciful- especially, with the company of an adult who cares enough to take them on the literacy journey. When selecting books, adults should choose quality books which are varied in style and text. Children's interests vary, yet, they become more motivated to learn when they are excited to know 'the rest of the story'. Fortunately, library and literacy programs are the perfect match for helping young people and adults learn to read and enjoy a variety of books.
Whether or not a school or public library is accessible, it is important to make such provisions within an elementary classroom. The room library must be properly lighted and should be a cheerful and inviting place for readers. Within the library, four general kinds of books should be provided for young children: (a) informational books, (b) 'mood' literature, (c) fiction, and (d) poetry.
Once a good book is selected, it is imperative that a good reader portray imagination, perception, insight, and enthusiasm. Also, a good reader should develop strategies for: asking questions, creating stories from pictures, observing and developing vocabulary, connecting reading to personal experiences, making predictions, rereading, learning new information.
Learning to walk would be one example as a useful analogy in that skills are acquired through the predominance of practice over instruction.
It is wise to assume that before children can learn to read, they must learn what reading is! Providing shared reading experiences with big books is one of the happiest ways of expanding young children's literacy. Basically, it can be a school version of the home bedtime story. In the elementary classroom, a teacher might gather a group of children close and read to them from a big book with large print. Only pictures that are large, clear, and easily seen should be used with a whole group. In shared book experiences, learning to read becomes easy because the children are always working with familiar material and are able to use what they already know to figure out what they do not know. For example, suppose a class has read "Humpty Dumpty" many times, therefore, the students should know the answer to: Humpty Dumpty sat on a _____. In addition, poems and rhymes are very interesting to students and thus stimulate the child's learning of sight vocabulary, matching lines, and familiar terms.
Whether reading to your child or student using big books or small, the important thing to remember is to READ! There are many benefits to reading, such as learning new vocabulary which improves one's ability to speak and write more effectively. Reading should not be a 'penciled in' activity. It should be a regular daily activity that isrecognized and rewarded.
Sonya Rogers is an independent columnist for the Atmore Advance and reports on educational issues. She may be reached by e-mail at

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