Reading Aloud “Gains Favor”

by S.C. Torrington on January 5, 2010

maybe7What the frack? Gains favor? Like reading aloud to kids is some crazy new concept that needs to prove its merit. I suspect that as long as somebody’s been writing—on cave walls, marble tombs, parchments or Blackberries, somebody’s been reading aloud. So it seems bizarre that its benefits are still up for debate.

But an online article in Education Week discussed the technique as some cutting edge strategy that more and more middle and high school teachers are adopting. Dah. Apparently there was a rule that deems reading to your class/child only appropriate for elementary age. But, shit, it’s in high school when the words start getting really hard!

Reading isn’t just about deciphering the code, “sounding out” the words and taking that short pause between sentences. It’s about cadence and inflection and emotion. And I don’t care how strong of reader a child is, the first time you hand her Shakespeare or Mark Twain or Lewis Carroll and ask her to read the work aloud, its intent will be lost.

Can’t you remember when the teacher would go around the classroom to make each student read a few sentences from a text or fiction book? I would be so busy trying to figure out what my lines were gonna be, I couldn’t pay attention to what was being read aloud. And the kids’ varied oratories turned a smooth, concise thought into a crazy quilt of gibberish.

As one who loves to lay back and listen to audio books, I think it’s pretty obvious that “Read to me,” is a lifelong request. Why deny children the comfort of simply listening? Letting the words wash over, sink down and stick in their brains for contemplation and replay.

I still read aloud to Morgan. From poetry to test instructions to The Declaration of Independence. Sometimes you gotta hear it to get it.

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