Do you have a beginning or struggling reader that is frustrated with the whole reading process? Or maybe you have an avid reader who is tiring as books are becoming more challenging? What do you do when your child's love for reading has fizzled (or has yet to develop!). Trying to cultivate a love for reading can be a difficult task with so many other things vying for their attention--screen time, social media, hobbies, sports, down time, and the busyness of life.
As a parent, it can be challenging to turn reading into a fun instead of frustrating activity. But today we have help for you! Incorporate audiobooks and read-alouds into your daily routine and watch your child’s curiosity for books develop and grow!
Many parents shy away from reading aloud to their children or using audiobooks when their children get older. The obvious question is how a child will become a better reader if they aren’t practicing decoding words independently! Let us reassure you there are countless reasons why you will want to incorporate reading aloud and audiobooks into your child’s reading program!
One of the most significant benefits is that it allows a child to experience text at a higher level than they are reading. Often a child’s listening level can be a grade or two higher than his reading level. Incorporating these books into your program will expose a child to more complex storylines, elements, and literary devices. This exposure challenges a child to expand their reading boundaries, plus when they encounter these elements back at their reading level, they will be more comfortable and confident!
Your child will gain numerous benefits from Audiobooks & Read-alouds. They include:
Expanding word exposure and vocabulary--they will hear and learn words beyond what they just can read in print!
Strengthening listening skills--while listening to a book your child relies on their hearing since there are no visual cues to support the story, this will enhance their listening ability.
Building background knowledge--books can expose children to locations and periods they can’t experience first hand. It will widen their perspective of the world!
Increasing comprehension--at first, your child may only remember the main plot events, but as you listen to more books, they will begin to notice incredible details that will generate deeper insights as they interact with the story and characters.
Modeling fluent reading and expression--this is especially important for new or struggling readers.
Reducing working memory effort--instead of spending time and energy on decoding words, your child can listen and focus on comprehension.
Increasing attention spans--start with shorter books and work your way into lengthier selections.
Developing imagination--they can create the story in their mind!
Exposing them to different genres--incorporate titles that your child typically wouldn’t pick up on their own to expand their perspective.
Allows for independence! Audiobooks provide a means for children to not rely on their parents and explore books on their own.
Do I have my children just listen or follow along with the text?
Both are excellent options and have benefits! Try it both ways and see if your child has a preference. But also occasionally encourage them to do whichever way they don’t prefer so they can expand their comfort zone a bit!
Where can I find great audiobooks and read alouds?
To find books check out our Reading Resource page--look at the titles under Support Resources, and you will find several resources which will help you find great books for a variety of ages! Also look for our next post, we will be revealing our absolute favorites from our years of homeschooling.
Also, check out your local library, YouTube, or Audible! The best part is you can find a 30-day free subscription to Audible on our Reading Resource page!
Bonus Tip: Did you know you can adjust the playback speed so you can find just the right speed for your kids?!
When should I use audiobooks and read-alouds?
The best thing about these books is you can incorporate them into ANY part of your day! There are many “non-school” times you can include audiobooks and read alouds: car rides, during breakfast or lunchtime, quiet times (and yes, many kids can sit and listen as well as draw, color, or do another manual dexterity activities like Legos while listening), or before bed. But they are also great as part of your curriculum! There are so many great books that support and enrich any subject-- history, science, social sciences, English, and more.
So grab a few books to listen to and read aloud. You will slowly begin to turn reading into a fun instead of frustrating activity for your child. Enjoy the journey as you get to witness your child’s passion for reading develop and grow!