It has been proven that a child who comes to school with a large vocabulary does better than a child whose vocabulary is very poor.
Why is that? If you think about it, in primary school, almost all instruction is oral. At the kindergarten age, children still do not know how to read or are just starting to read, so the teacher constantly talks to them, explaining the educational material. This statement is true not only for reading, but for all other subjects; the teacher does not ask the children to open the textbooks and read paragraph 3. Teaching takes place orally, and children with a large vocabulary have an advantage because they understand most of what is being taught. Children with a small vocabulary do not understand what is happening from the very beginning, and, as a rule, they fall behind in learning, and more and more over time.
How can a child build a large vocabulary even before starting school? A large vocabulary most often develops in children with whom they talk a lot and who are read aloud. If you think about this, then you can come to the conclusion that the child cannot pronounce words that he has not heard before. For example, the word “tricky”. The child will not be able to pronounce this word if he has not heard it before. And in order to remember this word, the child, most likely, must hear it several times. This, of course, does not apply to swear words. When a child hears his parent swearing, he memorizes all the words of this kind from the very first time and repeats them with pleasure whenever possible. But children need to hear most words several times, so it is important that parents talk to and in their presence from a very early age, because this is how children learn words.
We spend hours reading to our little ones before they begin a formal education, then we begin observing our school age children decoding and beginning reading to themselves and somewhere in between we stopped reading aloud to them. The question is should we stop reading out loud to them or should we continue. If we read out loud to them are we not encouraging them to work on their reading? are we holding them back from successful reading ?
These are questions I began to ask myself when I cam across tan article called”Why Reading Aloud to Older Children Is Valuable” over on the Mind/Shift website. It shares the hows and whys of reading aloud to our older children:
“The first reason to read aloud to older kids is to consider the fact that a child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to his listening level until about the eighth grade”
said Trelease, referring to a 1984 study performed by Dr. Thomas G. Sticht showing that kids can understand books that are too hard to decode themselves if they are read aloud.
“You have to hear it before you can speak it, and you have to speak it before you can read it. Reading at this level happens through the ear.”