Welcome to the Read-Aloud Corner! I'm Matthew Jones, a software developer by day and a dad all of the time.
I've been a big fan of books my entire life. More recently, though, I've become a big fan of reading books aloud to my three kids.
I'll let the experts start us off:
In an era of high-stakes testing and education reforms and revolutions, research has repeatedly proved that one simple parenting technique is among the most effective. Children who are read aloud to by parents get a head start in language and literacy skills and go to school better prepared.
"Reading aloud to young children, particularly in an engaging manner, promotes emerging literacy and language development and supports the relationship between child and parent," concludes a review in this month's Archives of Disease in Childhood.
In other words, reading that bedtime story may not only entertain and soothe Johnny, it may also develop his vocabulary, improve his ability to learn to read, and - perhaps most important - foster a lifelong love of books and reading.
Reading aloud to children provides them several benefits:
In short, it's a fun, helpful activity that expands their minds and their worlds.
My three kids are my audience. A large part of this blog will be reactions from my kids and their thoughts on the books we read. Obviously I won't be using their actual names, so instead I'll use their initials.
B is the eldest; he's 7 years old at the moment and the most perceptive of the bunch. He tends to be "in his head" more than the other two, internalizing problems until he solves them. But, because of his tendency to do that, he's also pointed out future problems the characters might have well before they occur. He's the biggest fan of the Read-Aloud Corner, constantly begging to just "read another chapter, they're short," even when they're super long.
A is the middle child and a mere two months younger than B; he's also 7 years old and biologically my nephew (but he calls me Dad and I call him son so that's the truth of it). He's highly energetic and sometimes has difficulty sitting still for the longer chapters, but picks up on the characters' emotions more readily than the other two (e.g. "She's probably feeling sad because she doesn't have a doll like her sister").
K is the youngest, a 5-year old girl. She's the fearless one, the one who acts before thinking, and so getting her to sit down and listen for a while can be a challenge. But she also understands more than I think she does, and often points out why certain characters behave certain ways. She also gets scared more easily than the boys, which makes sense given that she's younger.
These three kids (B, A, and K) are my audience for the Read-Aloud Corner. Their opinions, questions, giggles, and continued desire to hear stories fuel this series and the books we read.
The four of us are setting off on a journey through some of the classics of literature (and a few not-so-classic ones). Every book you see reviewed by us is a book we have actually read, so you will be able to follow in our footsteps and ignite your kids' imagination.
I plan on reading aloud to my kids for as long as they let me. And for that long, the Read-Aloud Corner will be our place to discuss books, stories, funny moments, and tips for reading aloud to kids.
-Matt, B, A, and K