How Does reading Aloud Support Development? (page 2)
Let us summarize. We have just discussed three important and powerful influences on a reader's ability to make meaning from printed language. These are the reader's background knowledge, the reader's language, and the reader's active engagement with the material being read. Reading aloud to your child can contribute to each of these.
Reading aloud develops background knowledge
How do we build background knowledge? Parents can provide experiences for children that build their knowledge of the world and will enable them to understand texts they later encounter in school and other settings. Take your child to the zoo. Take your child to museums. Explore natural settings—the ocean, national parks, your backyard. Talk about what you see. Read to your child. More can be explored in books than we will ever have a chance to experience firsthand. In books, children can travel the world, examine insects, explore the planets, visit a rain forest, construct a building, and much more.
Reading aloud from a variety of books supports language development
How do children acquire the language that will enable them to make sense of the formal language of books? Parents can read aloud to their children from many and varied books. Read some books over and over again. Read informational books, alphabet books, predictable books, familiar storybooks, fairy tales, and more.
Reading aloud can encourage active engagement with books
Reading aloud books that have personal relevance and books that invite participation are excellent ways to encourage active engagement with books. Talk about books. Discuss how you are the same as and different from the characters in a story. Share personal experiences similar to those in the book. Point to pictures. Laugh at an author's words.
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