Friday, May 23, 2014

Reading aloud is an ageless activity

Story time at the Ketchikan Public Library, Ketchikan, Alaska (From 
When was the last time you read aloud to someone?

When was the last time someone read aloud to you?

As I read "Why reading aloud to older children is valuable", I thought of my step-mother. Like me, my step-mother loves to read, and she loves to borrow books form the library. Unlike me, however, she checks out a lot of audiobooks.

You see, my step-mother must commute 30+ minutes to and from work every day. I'm sure that one some of those trips the radio is tuned to a favorite radio station. On many days, however, a book on tape is the entertainment of choice. I can recall many time: her sitting in her car in the driveway several minutes after arriving, finishing up a chapter in her audiobook.

I also thought of myself. I don't borrow audiobooks, though perhaps I should. I do, however, listen almost exclusively to NPR. Don't laugh; in an average US city or town (i.e. not metroplex), it will have more diverse and interesting programming than almost any other radio station. There's music. There are interviews. There are even stories. I love listening to stories.

People have always enjoyed listening to stories. It's common across the cultural spectrum. When with friends, people tell stories to one another constantly: stories about friends, stories about ancestors, stories about their weekends, stories about their children, etc. We are a story-loving species.

I agree with all the ideas mentioned in the article. Reading to students' listening levels, modeling, "broadening the menu", the power of shared words, etc. are all important to learning, important to academic and emotional growth. But there is another reason: It's simply enjoyable.

Do you read to your students? What do you read?

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