Reading Aloud to Older Kids: Why It Matters and How to Make It Fun

It’s easy to stop reading out loud as children grow older, but this remains really important, well after children learn to read on their own! Learn why reading aloud to older kids matters, and how to make it fun.

Click to read also: Family Read Alouds for All Ages

It's easy to stop reading out loud as children grow older, but this remains really important, well after children learn to read on their own! Learn why reading aloud to older kids matters, and how to make it fun.

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Why It’s Important to Read Aloud to Older Kids

We all know that it’s important to read aloud to young children. But don’t stop reading just because your child learns to read, or even when they graduate elementary school! It is true that some children enjoy being read to more than others, but with the tips in this post any child can enjoy a read aloud session.

Reading out loud to your “big kids” brings all sorts of wonderful benefits. Here are. few of them!

Encourage a Love of Reading

The more time we spend reading to our kids, the more we teach them to love reading! Reading and being read to builds writing skills. It also teaches children to see the world through another person’s eyes. And it’s an incredible way to explore together from the comfort of home.

Click to read also: How to Develop a Family Reading Culture

Build Listening and Comprehension Skills

Reading aloud helps children develop active listening skills that will help them throughout their lives.

Reading aloud is also a wonderful way to develop comprehension skills! Your voice inflection as you read helps children better understand both character and plot.

Develop Vocabulary and Knowledge

Children who are read aloud to develop larger vocabularies – and they actually learn how to pronounce those new words! They also learn how to explore different points of view, and build their knowledge base.

Improve Critical Thinking and Analysis

Children will learn to think critically and analyze as they listen to you read. Your reading gives them more time to think and ponder what you are saying. Develop this skill even more by stopping and allowing time for discussions about what you are reading.

Common Misconceptions About Reading Aloud to Older Children

All too often, these misconceptions keep us from reading to our older children. This is why they are wrong.

Too Old for Reading Out Loud

You are never too old for reading aloud! I love my Audible books as an adult. Your child can also benefit from Audible, of course, but if you read to them there is space for asking questions, plus the comfort of quality time spent with a parent.

Being Read to Is Embarrassing or Boring

There is nothing wrong with being read to at any age! Have your child take turns reading to you, if they are struggling with this issue.

Some children really struggle with sitting still while reading. Read to them as they fall asleep, or let them draw, build with LEGO bricks, or play with fidget toys if they like.

There Aren’t Any Read Aloud Books for Older Kids

The beauty of reading aloud to older kids is that you can read them your own favorite books! Start with titles you love, or find a series that they enjoy and start reading that to them.

How to Make Reading Aloud Fun for Older Kids

Use these tips to make reading aloud a fun and engaging activity.

1. Allow the child to choose the book

Some children prefer to choose the books they read. Let them! This is a wonderful way to get an insight into their inner world. You can learn a lot about a person by reading the books they love.

2. Create a cozy and comfortable reading environment

I often read to my older children as they are falling asleep at night. I bought this neck reading light so that I can see the book while keeping the room dim.

3. Use different voices and inflections to bring the characters to life

Don’t be afraid to play as you read! Assign different voices to the characters, and allow yourself to giggle at the funny parts of a book.

4. Pause to discuss the story and ask questions

Besides building your child’s understanding of what is happening in a book, pausing to discuss what you are reading is a great opportunity to build a stronger relationship with your child by learning more about what they think and why.

5. Incorporate snacks or drinks

Snacks and drinks are great for pulling reluctant readers into the experience of a new story. Need inspiration? Ticia Messing has a great collection of snacks for different books.

It's easy to stop reading out loud as children learn to read, but this remains important! Learn why and how to read aloud to "big" kids.

Do you read aloud to your older children? Did your parents read aloud to you? What books would you recommend for reading out loud to big kids?

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