The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease is where my love of reading to my children all began. I stumbled upon this wonderful book in our tiny Wisconsin library back in 1986. Our oldest daughter was little and I was looking for a book about teaching children to read. I saw this title on the shelf and was intrigued.
I read it in one day.
My mother read aloud to me when I was young, but I had never connected my own early reading success and my love of reading with her behavior! Mr. Trelease helped me see what a game changer reading to children can be. It increases your child’s vocabulary, gives them a familiarity with written and spoken language flow, it increases their attention span, promotes attention to detail, spurs imagination and increases their general knowledge — to name just a few of the benefits.
Probably the most important thing I learned from The Read-Aloud Handbook was to never stop reading to my children! Many parents feel that once children can read on their own, their work is done. Not true! Not only is reading aloud a bonding experience between parent and child, but you can read books aloud to them that are far too difficult for your reading child to tackle on his own. This practice helps your reader continue to expand his vocabulary and fluency of reading as they progress in their personal reading lives.
I took Mr. Trelease’s advice to heart and eventually read a couple hundred books out loud to my five kids during the 28 years they lived at home. In fact, in 2005, we were attending a family reunion in New York when one of the Harry Potter books was released. It was tradition that we purchased our copy of the latest HP book at the midnight bookstore events. So, even though we were clear across the country and had a busy schedule, we climbed into our rental van (including our oldest daughter’s wonderful fiance) and drove to the local Barnes and Noble to buy our copy. When we returned to the hotel at 2 AM, Janssen (that oldest daughter who was on the verge of marriage) insisted I sit down and read at least a few pages aloud to all before we dove for our beds.
What a sweet memory!
The Read-Aloud Handbook is the best ‘parenting book’ I’ve ever read. Reading aloud has added a closeness and happiness to our family that I think would have been hard to generate otherwise. Because of my own experience, I’ve purchased dozens of copies of The Read-Aloud Handbook as gifts for new mothers. I can’t do that for each of you, but I can share this video and encourage you to pick up your own copy at the library or bookstore.
Parenting Book, 350 pages — many of these pages are read-aloud book suggestions at the back, Education, Parenting, Published 1982.