Reading aloud is a very common activity conducted during circle time by the early years educators. Reading aloud to young children is not only one of the best activities to stimulate language and cognitive skills; it also builds motivation, curiosity, and memory. (Bardige, B. Talk to Me, Baby 2009) The read-aloud technique, as proposed by a number of researchers such as Trelease (2001), Meller, Richardson, and Hatch (2009), allows teachers to interact with their children when reading stories to them. Hence, clearly there has to be some astonishing benefits of read aloud sessions in Early Years classroom.
For those of my readers who know Aliya, also knows that she has been a passionate educator through her journey. Let us understand 4 astonishing benefits that Aliya has observed during her practice sessions with young children:
A vocabulary spurt
Aliya has worked as a Lead preschool teacher with more than 5 years of experience. Across these 5 years she has learnt new techniques of reading to young preschoolers. She has observed that introducing new words help preschoolers build more sophisticated language . Hence, every time she used to read aloud a new book to her class, she would always ensure that she consciously defines every new word introduced. Her experience says that this helps young preschoolers understand the story better. For this, she uses the approach of ‘pause and question.’ This means she clearly pauses at the entry of an unfamiliar word and asks children what they think it means. And then defines the word as it fits the context of the story. Using this strategy helped preschoolers of her class learn new vocabulary with a higher rate.
Stronger attention span and listening skills
Once when Aliya was reading aloud the story from her story book, the assistant teacher Ms. Kiyara was astonished at the way all 12 preschoolers were glued to the story. She observed that the story took full 8 minutes to complete and that none of the 12 preschoolers even moved an inch. Aliya happened to discuss later with Ms. Kiyara about why this happened. She mentioned that the frequent sessions of reading can help children build such concentration levels. As the story unfolds new characters and events, it leads them to think about it and allows them to stay with us, listening and paying attention throughout.
Teaches them to read
Aliya is a brilliant teacher when it comes to spoken language. She rightly knows when to pause, where to inflect her voice and read questions and exclamations with relevant expressions. She is a fluent reader when she reads out the story from the book or a fluent narrator when she picks up puppet pedagogy. Farhan, one of her preschoolers, has been observed to pick up on her skills. Farhan’s mother reported to the preschool director that he tries to read aloud his favourite stories like an adult and they feel he is doing nothing but trying to follow Aliya’s footsteps. Ryan’s parents are absolutely glad about how he is making progress with his spoken language. After all teachers always experience how well children imitate their teachers.
Helps connect reality to imagination
A frog and his friends were all the characters in the story, Aliya was reading aloud to her young preschoolers. Siya had experienced seeing a frog before she heard this story. As the story progressed further, Aliya read, “And the frog jumped high over the log.” with her right hand going all over her head from one side to the other. As Ms. Kiyara was observing the session, she got her attention over Siya who was listening yet thinking deeply. She asked her, “What are you thinking Siya?” To which Siya replied, “I have seen a frog jump from one leaf to the other” Listening to this, Ms. Kiyara understood that she might be picturing the frog jumping over the log in a similar way.
Ms. Kiyara being an assistant teacher with Aliya learnt the importance of Read Aloud Sessions as she herself could witness some of the evidences. We are sure that her anecdotes full of astonishing benefits of read aloud sessions might have even helped you as a educator or teacher to understand the significance of having reading aloud sessions in preschool.
Aliya’s students favourite read aloud are:
- A very hungry caterpillar
- Goodnight moon
- The day crayons quit
- Brown bear, what do you see?
- From Head to Toe
If you do have read aloud sessions in your early years classroom, comment below your student’s favourite read aloud and let us know if you have ever experienced something similar to this.