Reading aloud is the foundation for literacy development. Long after a child has learnt to read for themselves, the value of hearing stories being read aloud does not diminish. It is the single most important activity for reading success (Bredekamp, Copple & Neuman, 2000).
As teachers, we couldn't agree more. But what do children feel about being read to?
In the Australian Journal of Teacher Education (v 43, 2018), Susan Ledger and Margaret K. Merga, Murdoch University, published the findings from the 2016 Western Australian Study in Reading Aloud (WASRA), Reading Aloud: Children's Attitudes towards being Read to at Home and at School.
The findings revealed children having positive attitudes towards being read to both at home and at school. Wonderful news for all of us who read to our students and continue to do so because they love it so.
Ledger and Murga also explored students' attitudes towards frequency of home and school read aloud. 27% of children claimed they were not read to at home. Of those children who were read to: 17.7% were read to every day. 25.8% read to often, 56.5% read to sometimes.
Students attitudes towards frequency of being read to at School
Young Cohort (YC) Yrs 1-3
Older Cohort (OC) Yrs 4-6
Reading Aloud: Children's Attitudes towards being Read to at Home and at School Ledger and Merga, 2018
When there doesn't seem to be any time left in an already busy school day, is there any time left to dedicate to reading aloud and is it important enough to find the time?
Consider how Reading Aloud:
- Is associated with a range of literacy skills and cognitive benefits
- Develops the attitude and desire to read, which determines whether children choose to read
- Demonstrates the relationship between the printed word and meaning
- Invites the listener into a conversation with the author
- Makes more complex ideas more accessible to children
- Exposes children to vocabulary and language patterns that are not part of everyday speech
- Enables less able readers to engage in the same rich and engaging books that fluent readers read on their own
- Entices less able readers to become better readers
- Develops comprehension, vocabulary, fluency
Reading aloud reveals the rewards of reading and develops the listener's interest in books and desire to be a reader (Mooney, 1990).
What will you read aloud to your students today?
Ledger, S., & Merga, M. K. (2018). Reading Aloud: Children's Attitudes toward being Read to at Home and at School. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 43(3).