When our children are little we spend a lot of time coming up with activities to keep them busy: open air long strolls, parks and playgrounds, play dates, story times, etc. But as they grow life takes over and some of these fade away, some get replaced by soccer practice or baseball or both. As they start school the reading and story time become a distant memory. This seems to be a natural flow of things, since they start reading on their own and school already has some reading requirements (not enough if you ask us, but that’s a whole different blog post).
What this picture is missing is the fact that a child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to his or her listening level until eighth grade. The more you read together, the larger your child’s vocabulary, and the better he or she will do at school. Reading will become a form of entertainment and if curated correctly will compete with iPads and all the other electronic gizmos our kids waste their endless hours on. Reading aloud will strengthen the bonds between you and your child.
Reading aloud with a fourth grader or keeping up with the tradition of reading together with a sixth grader is an absolute must. Try to read books that are a bit more advanced than your child’s reading level and discuss what you read, talk about the main character and the plot and the good and the bad and make sure to let them express their opinion and ask questions and retell the story, because that’s what makes them grow.