Reading aloud to children provides them with access to literature that they can’t yet read themselves. When I look back at my up bringing it is nice to recall times when my father used to read to me and my 7 siblings. Dad would use the most fantastic voices to bring out the characters, and his phrasing and fluency was superb! You may be thinking ‘So what!’ and ‘What has that got to do with helping my child read?’ Read on and you will find out….
Like all things that help us learn, modelling is one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal. When dad used to read aloud he was exposing us to a smorgasbord of vocabulary. We didn’t realise it at the time, but the words he spoke were sinking into our subconscious minds. Often he would stop and ask us questions to ensure that we did indeed understand the message the author was conveying. Other times, dad would just read for pleasure, and our one job was to sit back and listen… much like sitting under a waterfall of words that painted pictures in our minds.
Later on as we began to read for ourselves, we already had an idea of the rhythm, or flow of how words should sound. We remembered how dad would work out words, the strategies he would use when he might stumble over a passage, the fact he didn’t just read on, he went back and corrected himself. If he was unsure of a word he would find out what it meant. All these little things helped me be the reader I am today. So yes, reading aloud to children is a gift that keeps on giving.
A big part of reading is to understand what the author is communicating, and also being able to make inferences and wonder about other contexts where this information might be applicable. I don’t believe that we have to deconstruct every book we read. Simply reading for pleasure, whether non-fiction or fiction should be the greatest motivating factor. However, with young readers I believe that is important that they are able to take something away from a text that they have read, and apply the ideas elsewhere.
If you lead a busy life, maybe you are a shift worker and your child is in bed by the time you get home. Maybe with everything else you have to do in a day, it is hard to make time to read aloud to your child. The good news is, there is always people on the internet who like to share, and today I share something with you.
With Covid-19 upon us, and being separated from my tamariki (children) at school, I wanted to keep connected and share my love of reading with them. When I was 10 years old a teacher called Mr Peters once read James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl to me and my classmates. And now I read it for you. It is my gift to all the tamariki out there who want to sit back and let the words that come from reading James and the Giant Peach fall down over them, like it was for me when dad used to read, like sitting under a waterfall of words that painted pictures in my mind.
Simply click on the link below and a PDF will open for you. To listen and watch the YouTube videos click on the pictures inside the PDF. I have also added a second link with possible activities for tamariki to undertake if they wish to delve a little deeper into the text.
To purchase your own copy of this wonderful book go to the Roald Dahl website where they have an online store. Once Covid-19 is over they will be able to provide you with a copy in due course.