Never too old: The joy and benefit of reading aloud at any age

Never too old: The joy and benefit of reading aloud at any age

Do you read aloud with your kids now they’re capable of reading on their own?

The Better Reading team all agree, we love being read to, even as adults: just lying on the couch and listening to a wonderful, transporting story. One couple we know drove around Australia, reading aloud to each other along the way!

And that led to a discussion about the pleasures of reading aloud to kids, even as they grow older.

Scholastic Inc’s ‘Kids and Family Reading Report’ survey confirmed that many children as old as eleven still don’t want their parents to stop reading aloud to them, even though they have the ability to read by themselves. 60% of the kids surveyed who were aged 9-11 were no longer being read to at home. But 34% of those kids actually wanted the reading aloud to continue.

Why did they like being read to? Popular reasons given by kids included that it’s fun and it’s relaxing before going to sleep. But the number one reason was because it’s a special time with their parents. In a world that seems to run at a faster pace every year, it’s the one time to slow down and be present for each other.

Reading to older kids can also benefit them emotionally and academically. For starters, it’s a way to model the pleasure and importance of reading.

Reading aloud is also an opportunity to share more complex stories with kids, inviting them to engage with a wider range of ideas. Jim Trelease, a journalist and the author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, argues that ‘a child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to his listening level until about the eighth grade’. For readers who are still developing their skills and for whom reading seems like hard work, you can show them ‘the good stuff – the really great books – are coming down the road, if they stick with it.’

Reading aloud can also be a great way to get kids hooked on a new author or series or stretch them to try genres they otherwise wouldn’t.  There are so many amazing books that kids don’t pick to read on their own, so reading aloud becomes an opportunity for them to “take a chance” on an unknown author or genre, without feeling like they’ve failed if they don’t like it.

Some of the functional benefits include expanding your child’s vocabulary and modeling fluent reading: ‘When you read to kids, you’re modeling how to read language. You pause at commas and periods. Your voice inflection changes when you read questions or exclamations. And you can show what you, a fluent reader, do when you come to a word you don’t know. (Even if you’re faking that you don’t know it.)’

Here’s a short list of suggestions for reading aloud to different age groups:

  1. The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling. Written as a story to be read each night at bedtime for her own children. It’s a sophisticated fairy tale, suitable for reading aloud to children 8+
  2. Brain Freeze by Oliver Phommavanh. A short story collection: 12 deliciously wacky stories that will make you laugh out loud. Perfect to read aloud to children 8+
  3. The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor. Page-turning suspense, as two children try to save the bookshop by solving a series of riddles. Each riddle creates a cliff-hanger so listeners will be begging you for another chapter.  A richly imaginative tale for reading aloud to children 10+
  4. Tashi: The Book of Magical Mysteries by Anna Fienberg, Barbara Fienberg and Kim Gamble. 8 fabulous Tashi adventures in one book! Suitable for reading aloud to children 5+
  5. Bear In Space by Deb Abela. Exploring space, friendship, and the magic of being uniquely yourself. Beautiful illustrations and very cute characters. Certain to be appreciated when read aloud to children 4+

 

 

 

Reviews

An original fairy tale: Read a review of The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling

Review | Our Review

10 November 2020

An original fairy tale: Read a review of The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling

Find out the magic behind The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor

Review | Author Related

16 October 2020

Find out the magic behind The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor

Magic of yesteryear: Take a sneak peak at The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor

Review | Extract

7 October 2020

Magic of yesteryear: Take a sneak peak at The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor

Coles Book Arcade comes to life! Read our review for The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor

Review | Our Review

6 October 2020

Coles Book Arcade comes to life! Read our review for The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor

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A trip down memory lane: Find out the story that inspired The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor

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Publisher details

Bear in Space
Author
Deborah Abela
Publisher
Walker Books
Genre
Children’s Picture Book
Released
01 August, 2020

Synopsis

Bear has plans to change his world, one space adventure at a time, and discovers just how far you can go with someone by your side. Bear is different. When he dreams of going into space, the other bears laugh. But Bear has plans to change his world, one space adventure at a time. In space he feels at home, but also alone, until something extraordinary happens. He discovers just how far he can go with someone by his side. A richly imagined story that celebrates difference, self-belief and the way friendship and acceptance can empower someone to build a better world

Synopsis

The Ickabog is coming... A mythical monster, a kingdom in peril, an adventure that will test two children's bravery to the limit. Discover a brilliantly original fairy tale about the power of hope and friendship to triumph against all odds, from one of the world's best storytellers. The kingdom of Cornucopia was once the happiest in the world. It had plenty of gold, a king with the finest moustaches you could possibly imagine, and butchers, bakers and cheesemongers whose exquisite foods made a person dance with delight when they ate them. Everything was perfect - except for the misty Marshlands to the north which, according to legend, were home to the monstrous Ickabog. Anyone sensible knew that the Ickabog was just a myth, to scare children into behaving. But the funny thing about myths is that sometimes they take on a life of their own. Could a myth unseat a beloved king? Could a myth bring a once happy country to its knees? Could a myth thrust two children into an adventure they didn't ask for and never expected? If you're feeling brave, step into the pages of this book to find out... A beautiful hardback edition, perfect for sharing and gift-giving. Brought to life with full-colour illustrations by the young winners of The Ickabog Illustration Competition.

Publisher details

The Grandest Bookshop in the World
Author
Amelia Mellor
Publisher
Affirm Press
Genre
Children’s Fiction
Released
29 September, 2020

Synopsis

Pearl and Vally Cole live in a bookshop. And not just any bookshop. In 1893, Cole’s Book Arcade in Melbourne is the grandest bookshop in the world, brimming with every curiosity imaginable. Each day brings fresh delights for the siblings: voice-changing sweets, talking parrots, a new story written just for them by their eccentric father.When Pearl and Vally learn that Pa has risked the Arcade – and himself – in a shocking deal with the mysterious Obscurosmith, the siblings hatch a plan. Soon they are swept into a dangerous game with impossibly high stakes: defeat seven challenges by the stroke of midnight and both the Arcade and their father will be restored. But if they fail Pearl and Vally won’t just lose Pa – they’ll forget that he and the Arcade ever existed.

Synopsis

Meet Tashi: he's brave, he's bold and he tells the best stories! Eight extraordinary stories about the magical and mysterious world of Tashi collected into one volume for the first time.No one in the village is as brave as Tashi. Only he could scare the ghost monsters out of the forest, or travel all the way along the dark underground passage to the Mountain of White Tigers. Tashi always has a cunning plan, whether he is facing a ferocious war lord, outwitting a sly genie or confronting Bang Bang, the trouble-making bully. There's no stopping Tashi!Explore the wonderful world of Tashi in these eight mystifying stories in one volume!First published in 1995 and has now achieved classic status with sales of over one million copies
Amelia Mellor
About the author

Amelia Mellor

Amelia Mellor began her writing career as her secondary school’s resident playwright in Year 11. As part of her creative writing course at the University of Melbourne, she completed a thesis on the reinvention of the Industrial Revolution in children’s fantasy literature. In 2018, she won the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust’s Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship for The Grandest Bookshop in the World. Her other writing credits include a 2018 ASA Award Mentorship and a finalist place in the 2016 Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers’ Contest. When she isn’t writing, Amelia enjoys hiking, gardening and drawing. She is an English teacher in regional Victoria.

Books by Amelia Mellor

Anna Fienberg
About the author

Anna Fienberg

Anna Fienberg grew up in a house filled with books. Her mother was a teacher librarian who relished stories as much as chocolates. 'On Sunday mornings we'd all lie in bed with our books, lost in magical wardrobes, witches’ spells, genies’ magic... What we were going to read next was just as important in our family as what was for lunch!' says Anna.

Anna started writing stories when she was eight, but never imagined being an author. She studied psychology, fascinated by the dark world of dreams. She gave up counselling after an unfortunate incident with an enraged man and a chair (he missed!), began writing and scored the best job in the world. 'Working for School Magazine was a treat,' Anna says. 'I couldn't believe you could get paid for sitting back comfortably in your chair, cappuccino in hand, reading over a thousand books a year. Heaven!' Of course, as an editor she also had to write reviews and articles, stories and plays. One of those stories for School Magazine later became her first book.

Books by Anna Fienberg

Oliver Phommavanh
About the author

Oliver Phommavanh

Oliver is a young Thai-Australian writer for children. He has featured on panels at the Sydney Writers' Festival among many other appearances at festival and writing event as well as in blogs. He has worked as a primary school teacher and now spends his time writing and sharing his writing passion with kids and engaging them with humour. He's also a stand-up comedian and has appeared on national TV and radio as well as a number of well-known comedy venues such as the Comedy Store in Sydney. He is the author of books such as Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd and Natural Born Loser.  

Books by Oliver Phommavanh

Deborah Abela
About the author

Deborah Abela

Deborah has always been a bit of a coward, which is why she writes books about spies, ghosts, soccer legends and girls who battle sea monsters and evil harbour lords. She’s written the Max Remy, Ghost Club and Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend) series and The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen. Her latest novel is New City, the sequel to her bestselling novel, Grimsdon. She’s won awards for her books but mostly hopes to be as brave as her characters.

Books by Deborah Abela

J.K. Rowling
About the author

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling is best known as the author of the seven Harry Potter books, which were published between 1997 and 2007. The enduringly popular adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione have gone on to sell over 500 million copies, be translated into over 80 languages and made into eight blockbuster films. Alongside the Harry Potter series, she also wrote three short companion volumes for charity: Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, in aid of Comic Relief and Lumos, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard, in aid of Lumos. J.K. Rowling collaborated with playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany to continue Harry's story in a stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which opened in London in 2016 and is now playing in Europe, North America and Australia. In the same year, she made her debut as a screenwriter with the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first in a series featuring Magizoologist Newt Scamander, which was inspired by the original companion volume. J.K. Rowling has also written a standalone novel, The Casual Vacancy, and is the author of the Strike crime series under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Both have been adapted for television. She has received many awards and honours, including an OBE and a Companion of Honour for services to literature and philanthropy. She lives in Scotland with her family.

Books by J.K. Rowling

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