"Reading aloud to children, both at home and in school, is also important throughout elementary and middle school to improve their reading comprehension as they encounter more complex books and texts.
Being able to read words and sentences fluently does not always mean a child can comprehend what he or she is reading. Proficient readers require sufficient vocabulary, general domain knowledge about a variety of topics, an ability to navigate text structures (such as problem-solution), and an ability to understand syntax. Read Aloud is an incredibly effective way to provide support to developing readers in all of these areas.
The read aloud is so effective, and essential, because human beings are not natural readers. We are wired to listen and speak, so are naturally good at listening, but we have to work to learn to read. Therefore, by listening to books being read aloud to us we can efficiently acquire new, more sophisticated vocabulary and background knowledge, gain important exposure to text structures and syntax, and can understand books well above our own independent reading levels. All of this leads to much better independent reading comprehension.
By reading a mix of high-quality non-fiction and fiction to children every day, and through subsequent discussion about the text being read, we can also improve children’s oral language skills, which are vitally important for reading comprehension success.
Read Aloud benefits all children and young adults from all backgrounds. And for children who may not have been read to from an early age, and may not have developed strong oral language skills in the years before school, frequent Read Aloud is absolutely critical. Read Aloud can be the most effective way to ensure that all children can read, comprehend, and develop a love of reading and learning."
--Dave Ciulla is the Executive Director of ReadWorks.
ReadWorks is a non-profit organization that helps teachers meet the nationwide crisis in reading comprehension. They help teachers improve their effectiveness through research-based, classroom-proven practices and curriculum. Learn more at ReadWorks.org.