Why Read Aloud?
If you missed part one, you can find it here.
If communication is important to you, then words in one form or another should be. We have all overheard those phone conversations at the grocery store that make us cringe, “Where you at?” cringe! Please don’t leave that preposition hanging there without an object!
Or, “Guess who I seen standing in the parking lot?” Yikes! Guess who I saw! SAW!
Or maybe it is just me. My sister threatened to buy me this T-shirt.
This article isn’t about me being the grammar police, it is about communication. Great communication starts with hearing the language in its proper context. Hearing language in its proper context comes from hearing/reading great literature. Let’s face it, we all have language habits that we don’t want our children to pick up. We want them to be intelligent and well rounded. We want them to eloquent and more importantly be able to get their point across with words.
- We learn how to communicate in writing through hearing great literature
The spoken language comes before the written language, but they go hand in hand. What you have in your brain comes out of your brain when you write.
If you hang around my family long enough, you will hear dozens of literary references in normal conversation and everyone in the family gets them (Read Audrey’s post about that here). Why? We read together, aloud for years, I’m not bragging, like Audrey said in her article last week, there were many times I/kids didn’t want to. No one sprinkled magic pixie dust onto us and placed us in front of a roaring fire with hot tea while I played a flute. Oh, wait I’m confusing myself with a few literary characters. The point is reading great literature aloud is not always easy, but it is effective, if you stick with it.
Once you have sunk your teeth into some great literature, you will hear new words coming out of your child’s mouth, even if they use them inappropriately, making life a little more interesting, it a step on the path to making a great communicator. Malapropism anyone?
- the mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with unintentionally amusing effect, as in, for example, “dance a flamingo ” (instead offlamenco ).
The next stage after spoken communication is written. Children are more effective writers if they have something to write. It makes no sense to have a six year old write a piece on survival in the wilderness. Unless, he grew up in the wilderness raised by wolves, he wouldn’t have the faintest idea what to say. On the other hand, if he loves survival, read to him about it and have him copy a sentence for his writing. Charlotte Mason referred to this as copywork, which eventually lead to dictation.
“Why should you use copywork and dictation in the early grades? The purpose of copywork is to get into the child’s visual (and motor) memory the look and feel of a sentence that is corrrectly composed, and properly spelled, spaced, and punctuated. The purpose of dictation is to have a child practice transferring his knowledge of the rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation to actual writing.”-www.welltrainedmind.com
Before, I get ahead of myself, you may feel as if I switched the subject from reading aloud to copy work. On the contrary, copy work follows reading aloud.Great writing follows. If you are reading a great work of literature aloud, choose your copywork and dictation from from it. Let me give you an example:
You are reading The King of the Wind and your younger children (who can write) copy this:
The morning fog had lifted, giving way to a clear day. (Start with a simple word, phrase or sentence.)
A tad older could copy this:
The morning fog had lifted, giving way to a clear day. Nearly all the people of Winsor, Ontario, and thousands of visitors were surging into Keniloworth Park, filling the stands and overflowing to the infield. (Add a sentence or two and some proper nouns.)
The morning fog had lifted, giving way to a clear day. Nearly all the people of Winsor, Ontario, and thousands of visitors were surging into Keniloworth Park, filling the stands and overflowing to the infield. It was greatest crowd ever to attend a race in Canada. For this was the day of the match race between Man o’ War, the great American horse, and Sir Barton, the pride of Canada. (Add another sentence or two along with some other punctuation or grammar rules you want to introduce.)
Once my kids had gotten a handle on copying things correctly, I moved to dictating one sentence at a time to them. By the time most of my kids were in high school, I could read them a paragraph and they could write it down. It did take years of , “wait a minute mom, can you read that again?”
Why did I torture my kids like this? I wasn’t torturing them.Through great literature they loved, I was teaching them the language, grammar, sentence structure and so on. When the kids needed to learn about quotation marks, they learned them through copywork. Capitalizing proper nouns? Copywork.
Intertwined with copy work and dictation is the beginning stage of great communication through writing. Children who have heard words,as well as copied words will begin to use them in their writing without even being aware of where those words came from. Their vocabulary and sentence structure comes across in their writing.Through hearing ideas, children have something to chew on and then they form their own ideas. They can communicate in speech and writing because they have the tools to do so and it all started with a read aloud.
Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday. Join us!
Read aloud suggestion for today: