In my previous post, I had written that the next one would be about reading. This is it!

Some say that expensive books, or the Internet, television, and smartphones are reasons for not reading. Yet, the Harry Potter books worldwide have sold more copies than the Bible. Someone, somewhere, instilled a love of reading in these readers. That “someone” was an adult: either a parent or a teacher, or BOTH!

Reading is a cultural habit developed when children are young. The love of reading develops in cultures where parents routinely read to children before bedtime, and where teachers read to children daily for PLEASURE (not for questioning).

When we ask teachers, “Who reads a story, or a chapter of a book, DAILY, to your students?”, out of 75 teachers, only 1 or 2 will answer positively, “Yes”. Excuses given by teachers usually are the same…”I do not have enough time.”

No teacher anywhere ever has ENOUGH time to do all he/she wants to do with the students. It becomes a matter of priorities! If children love to read, their future in school is secure because without great reading skills and interest in reading, most subjects are understood on only superficial terms.

Teachers MUST make reading aloud or storytelling a priority. Parents must be urged to read a story or to tell a story every night to their children. If we place an emphasis on daily reading or storytelling, we’ll see the change in our students.

In one generation, we can see the impact on the culture and a rise in the love of reading among our students. All we have to do is begin NOW to read aloud or to tell stories.

In the USA, in 1981, Ruth Love, then Superintendent of Schools in Chicago, Illinois, said, “If we could get our parents to read to their preschool children 15 minutes a day, we could revolutionize the schools.” Currently, 40 years later, an entire generation of children, are now adults. Did we meet their needs when they were young? If not, it’s not too late to begin the journey on the road to a love of reading.

There are both positive and negative aspects of each skill of reading aloud or storytelling.

Remember that the average first grade student has a READING vocabulary of about 350 words, but his/her LISTENING vocabulary is about 10,000 words, according to the USA Council for Basic Education. The child’s reading vocabulary will eventually grow to match the listening vocabulary, but unless adults read or tell stories daily, the child will not have an adequate listening vocabulary upon which the reading vocabulary is built.

Reading aloud or storytelling to children:

– You don’t have to memorize the story; you just READ it.
– You don’t have to worry about making mistakes in English because the words are written for you.
– Reading aloud to kids It shows students that books can contain interesting material.
– The children can borrow the book afterwards.
– Pictures in the book can help the child’s understanding.
– Children feel like the adult is giving them something personal when they tell a story.
– Children need the experience of hearing stories that come from the brain, not only from a book, so it shows them about creativity. This is “storytelling”.
– Children can get involved in the story and add words, if they want.
– Make sure that the stories are interesting and exciting enough to hold their interest while you are building up their imagination. – – Keep the initial readings or storytelling short enough to fit their attention spans, and gradually lengthen both.
– If we begin with children when they are young, 3 – 5 years of age, they will develop reading habits we hope to instill.

So now, teachers & parents, start reading or telling stories daily to your children. It will be the single most important thing you can do to help them develop a love of reading!

In my next post, I’ll continue this topic, expanding on how to enhance reading aloud & storytelling for students’ academic growth.