Why read aloud?
I’m (Kathleen) beginning a series on Wednesdays entitled “Why Read Aloud?” and I have a long list of topics beginning with seven reasons to read aloud (which may take seven posts). Audrey is posting about reading aloud on Tuesdays. Thanks for joining us!
Audrey, Amerey, Hunter, Jerry, Ania and I sat in the common room in the orphanage (Children’s Home) in Sulejow, Poland. The Guire family lived there for a month while we awaited the adoption of a sibling group of four. I pulled out our current read aloud, Johnny Tremain.
“I sat down to read with Audrey, Amerey and Hunter. Jerry sat down with paper, markers and Ania. He made a giant ‘A’ on a piece of paper and showed it to her.
“This is an ‘A,’ Ania say ‘AAAAA.’”
She looked at the pretty paper and the giant “A” and dutifully repeated, “AAAAA.”
Jerry drew a beautiful red apple. He showed Ania the picture, “Ania, this is an apple. Apple begins with A.”
Ania admired the beautiful apple by examining it from two inches away, tilting her pumpkin head down as if it were weighted, then she leaned back and repeated, “AAAAAAA,” more reverently than the first time.
She adjusted her okulary (glasses) and pulled up her jumper and tights with one squeaky, grunting, heaving motion as Tata Jerry made dotted lines on the paper. He then showed her the “A is for apple” paper a third time and pointed out the strange lines, “This is how you make an ‘A,’ Ania, see?”
“AAAA,” Ania replied as she appraised the paper again.
“You can make an A like this,” Jerry inserted the pencil in her hand and guided her tracing effort. Her nose grazed the page, her ponytails painted the paper as she strained to focus and control her chunky hand. A wobbly letter ‘A’ remained on the paper when she raised her head.
She regarded it proudly as she repeated, “AAAA.” Jerry leapt from his seat to share his earth-shattering success with me.
“Ania just learned an ‘A,’” he reported joyfully, “I think I’ll teach her the color red now.” He turned to gaze at his star pupil, who had magically produced her brand new kindergarten safety scissors and chopped the “A is for apple” page to bits!
“Pocosch, Tata!” she yelled. She smiled at her pile of bits of red apple paper, “Di me carton, Tata!” [Give me paper, Daddy!]. And so, Ania’s American education began, one bit of colored paper at a time. “- Positive Adoption; A Memoir
- We learn the language from hearing the language
Ania didn’t speak English and the Guire family spoke some rudimentary phrases in Polish with a great deal of assistance from our interpreter. She was being introduced to English on letter at a time and through listening to the read aloud. In the evenings, we did round two of read alouds with all the children. Gregory’s favorite was How the Grinch Stole Christmas, we listened to it over until he began to repeat phrases.
Reading aloud is a great way to learn a new language, but it is also how we learn our native language. We learn a turn of a phrase, context, vocabulary and all through hearing the written word. Reading aloud activates the brain.
“Children whose parents reported more reading at home and more books in the home showed significantly greater activation of brain areas in a region of the left hemisphere called the parietal-temporal-occipital association cortex. This brain area is “a watershed region, all about multisensory integration, integrating sound and then visual stimulation,” said the lead author, Dr. John S. Hutton, a clinical research fellow at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.” –www.blackenterprise.com
The brain is being activated in the left hemisphere, it is logical, literal (it likes words), and linear (it puts things in sequence and order) ( Read The Whole Brain Child for more info on this).
When a child hears more sophisticated language then he can speak, it stimulates the left hemisphere of the brain. His vocabulary grows. The more he hears, the more he knows.
“Since children acquire language primarily through the ear, the words they hear are central to their ability to understand and use words in speech and create meaning from words in print. If children don’t regularly hear new words in new contexts, they will not be able to add them to their mental storehouse of words. Moreover, children will be limited in their abilities to read and write based on the number of words and language structures they have in their minds (Orr 2000). “-www.education.com
Why read aloud? To grow the left hemisphere of the brain, increase vocabulary, learn words in context, broaden verbal abilities and most of all, connect with your child (which also grows the brain, but that’s another post). So, grab a book, a comfy spot and read!
Reading suggestion for the day:
Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday! Join us!