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Reading Aloud with Children: Benefits and Building the Habit

Reading aloud with children is a core part of their early exposure to books and stories. For many, it is also a big part of the nighttime routine that enables them to relax and have a screen break before bed.

In research conducted in 3000 primary schools in England, daily storytime (reading aloud) increased children’s reading age by 13 months in just one term (Farshore, 2023). It also improved children’s wellbeing and their overall interest and pleasure in reading. As parents, you have the opportunity to make reading aloud storytime part of your daily routine with your children to give them access to these benefits too.

Top 3 benefits of reading aloud

  • Regular out loud storytime increases children’s reading ages and allows them to access trickier texts than they would otherwise be able to understand independently. You might be surprised to know that improving reading skills has a direct positive effect on academic performance in other areas, such as maths.
  • It immerses children in language, improving their attention, building self-esteem, feeding their imaginations, and often improving their sleeping patterns.
  • It creates moments of connection and joy between you and your child. It is a chance to establish a habit of connecting and talking in meaningful ways, and to develop other skills such as empathy and critical thinking.

(Secret 4th benefit: Research shows that reading aloud to children also improves the mood of the adult reader too!)

Tips for building a habit of reading aloud

When we imagine reading aloud to children, we typically think about pre-school and under 7s still learning and perfecting the art of reading itself, and simple picture books with entertaining characters and obvious morals. But, what other ways can you read aloud with children?

  • For primary-aged children, reading aloud a simple and familiar story before bed can be a peaceful way to relax for the night.
  • Build reading into other parts of the day by choosing a slightly more advanced chapter book to read aloud with upper primary children as an after-school break before they start doing homework.
  • Secondary-aged children enjoy and benefit from reading aloud too. Choose a book you have a shared interest in, one that stretches their reading ability, that you can get lost in together.

We love to hear what you’re reading with your children. Share your English and Chinese recommendations with your tutor and tell them all about your reading aloud routine.