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One of the biggest mistakes we make, when reading aloud to our children, is reading to quickly!
As a youth I had always dreamed of becoming a performer! I went to dance and drama classes throughout most of my childhood. I took pride in my ability to memorise lines much quicker than my fellow actors and actresses! It was when I reached performing arts college that I really learnt the truth behind the phrase “pride comes before a fall!”
My favourite drama teacher was indeed impressed by my ability to learn my lines quickly. However, in one class he stopped me mid-sentence. “Amber, it’s all very well knowing your lines, but it has no value if the audience can’t understand a word you’re saying! Try again and slow down!” To say that my pride learnt a lesson that day is an understatement!
Reading aloud to your family may not be as grand as speaking in front of a large audience but some basic truths remain the same!
When you read too fast, your child will disengage! They may struggle to make sense of what’s being read and probably switch off, having not enjoyed the read aloud very much at all!
When you slow down your reading two things happen for a child:
1. It allows them time to build up a mental picture of all the beautiful imagery the author had intended!
2. They can hear all the variations of your voice. Your tone and emphasis will help them to understand the context and meaning behind non-common words. It will be one tool for assisting your child in building their vocabulary!
There are also some things that happen for you, the reader! These two things will enhance your reading experience. In turn they will enhance your child’s too!
Time to Scan and Plan
Have you ever been reading aloud when suddenly you had to stop and go back! You realised you read the word as singing instead of swinging? Or perhaps you read a line in an irritated tone of voice when it was meant to be more of a light-hearted comment?
Slowing down as a reader allows you the space to think, scan and plan your reading a little, so that you can avoid those mistakes and read the story as close to the authors intentions as possible.
Add Dramatic Flare to Your Reading
When you slow down, you’ll be able to add more variation to your tone of voice! This makes reading much more fun for you and your child too! You don’t have to go over the top with different voices for different characters if that’s not your style! Just a small change of intention as you speak can make a huge difference to bringing a story to life!
Please Slow Down Mama!
So next time your child seems less than enthusiastic about your read aloud, switches off and appears to have their mind way outside of the book. Ask yourself “am I reading slow enough?” Remember what your child may be trying to tell you, is simply “Slow down Mama, I’m trying to listen!”
Perhaps it’s Papa, Grandmother and even Sister or Brother, either way know that your child wants to pay attention and to enjoy the story, they just need a helping hand to get there!
If you have a child who always fidgets during read alouds, you may also want to check out these quiet read aloud activities! If you are looking for other ways to help your family make the most out of your read alouds check out our 30 Day Learning Through Literature Challenge!
Oh and don’t forget to download your FREE Bookmarks below so that each time you open up to read aloud to your child, you will be reminded to slow down just a little!