Thursday, 19 September 2013

Reading aloud to older children

This article on BBC News caught my eye the other day - Keep reading with your children, parents urged. Apparently 44% of the parents surveyed rarely or never read to their children after their 7th birthday. Actually, this surprised me, because that means that 56% still do, and that still seems pretty high to me. I know that my parents weren't still reading aloud to me at that age, and I don't think I would have wanted them to, I think I was quite happy reading by myself.

I've never imagined myself reading aloud to my children once they could read confidently themselves. However I do love reading to Harry at the moment, and I am impatient so start reading some more grown up books with him. At the moment he's at the very beginning of the learning-to-read-scheme from school, and he's bringing home the books which just have pictures for him to tell the story. I'm afraid I find it difficult (and boring) to 'read' these books with him - he's read them at school that day so he knows the story already, and he's not interested in discussing the illustrations. I prefer to read a more involved story with him (the Mr Men books have been favourites for a little while, or some of the Ladybird books with a longer story) and then he can ask questions based on what he has understood from my reading.

Obviously I don't have any experience of older children, and I really would love to know what sort of books parents read to their children that can already read themselves. Do you read books that they are capable of reading by themself, or do you read books that are beyond their reading level?

15 comments:

  1. Maybe a year or so ago I started reading to Laura while she was drinking her bedtime milk. We've read the Laura Ingalls books up to Shores of Silver Lake, The Velveteen Rabbit, and we've nearly finished Matilda. I think Peter Pan is next or maybe some more Roald Dahl (she says her teacher is reading them George's Marvellous Medicine at the moment). If she's in the mood she does a bit of the reading but it's usually me and we do a chapter a night. She really likes it and I can explain things she doesn't understand, and we chat about the story. Laura's reading book from school is pretty dull and doesn't have much in the way of a plot so I guess partially I want to show her that books can have fun stories! And I also enjoy reading her the books I love. It's lovely having a cuddle up in the evening and sharing a story.

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    1. That seems very young, that's amazing! I've tried to get Harry to sit still for some longer stories but he's not got the patience yet, he still likes books with plenty of pictures. We started George's Marvellous Medicine but it was a bit long winded for him at the moment. I don't think much of the books that Harry is bringing home from school at the moment, I do read them with him but don't enjoy it. I'm looking forward to sharing some of my old favourites with him.

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    2. Well, it is a time when she'd be sitting still anyway! And the Laura Ingalls ones and Roald Dahl ones we have do have illustrations. We do a chapter a night or half a chapter if it's long. But not tonight, she wanted to look at the encyclopedia instead and read about the planets and the moon (long story).

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  2. My two eldest can read on their own, but there are so many books that I still want to read with them, so I keep encouraging it. The trouble is that they want time to read on their own each night as well, and there aren't enough hours each night to do two reading sessions, so I'll read to them about 3 nights a week. We've just finished Fantastic Mr Fox and the three year old enjoyed it as well. Before that was the Witches and I found out that he was paying more attention than I had thought. Next, we will be testing reading a book for a publisher!!! I really hope we enjoy it!

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    1. That sounds like a good compromise, to alternate reading aloud and individual reading. I'm surprised that even your three year old was able to sit still for a longer book, perhaps I need to get into the habit more with Harry rather than giving up!

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  3. That's really interesting as you said I think 56% is quite high. The problem is that once they reach the point where they are free readers, they often enjoy the independence of reading by themselves. Our two boys have a mix. They read by themselves more often but every now and then they enjoy listening to a story. I think that it is lovely to read to them, but as long as they are being encouraged to read, I am happy

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    1. I think that I much preferred reading by myself. When I was little I did have a tendency to skim read, and so I could finish books much quicker if I was reading them myself.

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  4. I read to all of my kids until last summer - when they were 11, 8 and 6. But the boys decided they didn't want me to read to them any more and now I rarely read to my daughter, who's now 7. I miss it, but they all want to read on their own. Before they were confident readers I would read them books which were too hard for them to read themselves.

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    1. It must be sad when they decide that they don't want to be read to any more! I hope that mine will let me read to them for a bit but I'll be sad too when they don't want me to anymore.

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  5. Sounds as if my daughter at 6 is only a year ahead of your son but it's so exciting how quickly they learn to read once they start isn't it. At the same time I've been loving reading her more interesting books with chapters, particularly the Roald Dahl books and hope she'll still let me read books like this for a while, I love them! Bread and Jam for Frances is a lovely book that bridges the gap - suits children able to start reading themselves but is still lovely for parents to read to their children too. I wrote about it here http://www.shabbychick.me.uk/2013/07/10/bread-and-jam-for-ruby/

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    1. I am amazed with how quickly he's picking it up, he's only been at school for just over two weeks and his letter recognition is really coming on and he's started putting the sounds together to make words, which he couldn't do at all before. I am very much looking forward to more interesting books coming home from school!

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  6. I love reading with my kids. It's our chill out time together! Sometimes I'll get my 6 year old to read to me, especially when we're reading his school book but I think it's nice to just read together. Hopefully they won't grow out of it any time soon!

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    1. It is lovely reading together with little ones, I hope that mine will let me once they can read themselves.

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  7. love reading to my seven year old-we read a lot of horrible histories, as he loves history - we talk about it, look at atlases, look up photographs on the internet - it'sa very different experience from his independent reading. i'll keep it going as long as he's interested.

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    1. It sounds like you have a really nice balance between his own reading and sharing books together, it's a good idea to read non-fiction together too.

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