When is the best time to stop reading to your child?
You read to them as babies while they chewed and drooled on the board books. As toddlers, you patiently read the same Berenstein Bears book night after night because it delighted them so much. Now, suddenly your child is transformed into an independent reader – a book-adoring adolescent (ideally)! So, it is now time to stop reading aloud to your child, right? Literacy experts disagree for some awesome reasons.
Reading aloud to your child…
• BOOSTS LANGUAGE SKILLS. Children can listen at a higher language level than they themselves can read. This evens out for many children by age 13. However, this happens to be right around the age that we educators begin to expect more complex writing structures from our students – the very language structures they hear when you read aloud to them at a higher level.
• ENCOURAGES CONVERSATION. Ever ask your child about the school day and receive at best a mutter? Try reading an adventure book together: watch the conversation flow naturally.
• DEVELOPS EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. Have a difficult topic that you need to discuss with your child? Read together to tackle issues in a gentle and subtle way.
How do you know when to stop reading to your kids? When they will not let you anymore! Then, ask questions about what they are reading on their own: it is a wonderful way to enter your child’s world.