2016 · June · Life · Summer · Summer of Fun

Summer of Fun 2016 – Activity 2: 13 Reasons We Should Be Reading Aloud To & With Teens

Do you read to your children? Do they read to you? Oh the little’ens for sure, right?

What about your older kids? Do you read to them aloud? Do they read to you aloud?

Why am I asking these questions? It’s not to be nosy or to make anyone feel bad.

Honestly, I ask because today’s activity revolves around that exact topic.

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Some folks find it strange, not to mention amazing, that at the ages of nearly 14 and 20, my guys still love to be read to and to read to us aloud as a family. It’s something we all enjoy…reading I mean. No, we don’t do the bedtime stories an more, although we do love to read children’s picture books. As a matter of fact, 2 years ago we read the top 100 children’s books of all time; it was amazing! *the link I provided will lead you to an older post about it and to the link for the list*

For the most part when I tell people “we’re reading a book aloud together as a family” I get the strangest reactions.

Some folks are genuinely surprised, others are shocked and even a bit dismayed and envious. I would say shocked and surprised are the two most common reactions I get.

I hear on a regular basis how parents can barely get their kids to come to the dinner table and can’t imagine getting them to actually sit down and read on their own, let alone as a family.

There are many benefits to reading aloud and to being read to, especially as teens.

In their book, Reading and Beyond (2003),  Frank Serafini and Cyndi Giorgis give us 13 Good (Scientific Reasons) to Read to Older Children in chapter 2. While they are actually referring to reading aloud in classrooms, I believe these same things benefit my children if I read with and to them at home:

1: Reading aloud increases test scores.

 2: Reading aloud introduces readers to new titles, authors, illustrators, genres, and text structures. 

3: Reading aloud builds a sense of community.

4: Reading aloud provides opportunities for extended discussions. 

5: Reading aloud with older readers is pleasurable.

6: Reading aloud connects readers with content area subjects. 

7: Reading aloud demonstrates response strategies. 

 8: Reading aloud increases readers’ interest in independent reading. 

9: Reading aloud provides access to books that readers may not be able to experience on their own. 

10: Reading aloud provides demonstrations of oral reading and fluency. 

11: Reading aloud helps readers understand the connection between reading in school and reading in life.

12: Reading aloud provides demonstrations of quality writing. 

13: Reading aloud supports readers’ development.

There is no substitute for reading aloud. No other experience or instructional strategy can capture the mood and enjoyment of a piece of literature. Reading aloud is about more than increasing standardized test scores and developing more capable decoders. It’s about teaching children why to read, not just how to read. It’s about inviting them into the world of literature and exposing them to the joys of reading and the fantastic story worlds available in books. It’s about teaching them what pleasures await them between the covers of a good book. Shirley Brice Heath (1994) explains that in order to have literate people emerge from our classrooms, we have to provide examples of “joyfully literate adults” for students to emulate. This may be one of the most important roles the teacher plays in their classroom—“joyful promoter of literature and reading.”  Frank Serafini and Cyndi Giorgis

In addition to those wonderful reasons I’ve noticed my kids diction, fluency, and fear of talking to and in front of people has improved a great deal.

It’s for these reasons and the love of reading that today’s activity is:

Reading Together 

We chose a classic book for today’s reading and while we didn’t finish it today, we will over the next few days. It isn’t uncommon for us to read together several chapters in one sitting.

Our book of Choice today was Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

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The boys decided I would be the reader today. I love that! What I really love is when they read because they are both really good at giving the characters their own voices (I’m not so good at that even when I try).

The stories seem to come alive when the characters have voices and I pray to get better at it, but it usually causes fits of laughter when I try.  🙂 Glad the guys can do it though. Maybe next time I’ll record one of them reading so you can hear for yourselves.

My kids multitask (just like their mama) and while I read, they are listening and doing something else like coloring or drawing. It’s sort of like when I doodle as I talk on the phone I suppose.

Reading together is such a relaxing experience for me. It’s as if the whole world and all it’s my problems fade away and we lose ourselves in the lives of the characters we’re reading about.

It’s one of those times when I feel as if I”m truly bonding with my boys and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a legacy I’m leaving them in hopes they will then pass on to their children!

 

Thanks for stopping by today! I enjoy your company immensely!

How do you and your family connect?

♥ See You Tomorrow ♥

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3 thoughts on “Summer of Fun 2016 – Activity 2: 13 Reasons We Should Be Reading Aloud To & With Teens

  1. Wow – what a brilliant thing to do! I guess families did that in the days before digital entertainment gadgets took over our lives. It’s a marvellous way to bond and grow; I can see all the benefits you have outlined – it’s all about having TIME for each other. Lovely post – hope it will inspire others to do the same – I am sad to say I never thought of reading out loud with my boys in their teens – what a shame!

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    1. Awe, thanks Gilly for your kind words. Yes, the digital age has certainly taken over our lives. We went out to dinner several weeks ago and as we looked around it was astonishing how many people were looking at their phones instead of engaging with the ones they were with. I too hope this post inspires others! I don’t think you’re alone in the not thinking to read with your boys (teens). Thanks for stopping in! Always love hearing from you!

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