Reading aloud to Kindergartners at Dixon Elementary in Elmbrook is being reduced, because it is “passive.” (“Elmbrook turns page with new literacy curriculum,” May 7).
The research on reading aloud to children is very impressive: Children who are read to regularly outperform children not read to on a wide variety of measures of language and literacy: they develop higher levels of vocabulary, grammar, and a better knowledge of how stories are constructed, which helps make book reading more comprehensible.
Even more important, read-alouds increase enthusiasm for reading. Anyone who has worked in elementary school (anyone who has been to elementary school) has seen this: The teacher reads Charlotte’s Web to the class; the book disappears from the school library and local bookstores. Children go from there to Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, and eventually to fine authors such as Judy Blume. The result is a lifetime reading habit, and very high levels of literacy.
Brassell, D. 2003. Sixteen books went home tonight: Fifteen were introduced by the teacher. The California Reader 36 (3): 33-39.
Bus, A., M. Van Ijzendoorn, and A.Pellegrini. 1995. Joint book reading makes for success in learning to read: A meta-analysis on intergenerational transmission of literacy. Review of Educational Research 65: 1-21.
Krashen, S. 2011. Reach Out and Read (Aloud): An inexpensive, simple approach to closing the equity gap in literacy. Language Magazine 10 (12): 17-19.
Trelease, J. 2006. The Read-aloud Handbook. New York, NY: Penguin Books.
Wang, F. Y., and S.Y. Lee. 2007. Storytelling is the bridge. International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 3(2), 30-35.