This is a write-up by a parent, turned teacher, as he unravels his discovery of reading aloud and its immense benefit to the child. Follow us as we learn about an interest turned into a passion.
” I think story telling was my life. I was very curious about story telling. Even attempting to remember the first one is like trying to remember the day you were born. I’m not sure you can”.
– Chinua Achebe (on CNN). The Author of the classic novel: “Things Fall Apart”.
In retrospection of a typical childhood in the part of the world where I grew up, reading has always been a thing of discomfort than comfort because when an adult sees children playing, the typical words that will come out of such an adult’s mouth is “e lo gbe iwe yin” (yoruba) emotively meaning “go and read your books” and for children, this spelt doom.
So, when I became a parent I didn’t want my children to dread reading books rather I hoped to see my kids as normal kids who enjoy reading. I wanted them to be book lovers and not book haters. It was this desire coupled with my continuous marvel at people who are avid readers that led me to this invaluable goldmine that the Merciful Creator has made me to discover “The Read Aloud” method of developing a love for reading in children.
Ever since my discovery of this method I have been talking to people about it. I also realized that mere talking to people around me about this method is not enough for spreading it, thus, making it necessary for me to embark on the project in a more formalized manner with expected positive outcome from all parties involved on the long haul of it by God’s grace.
1. Why Read Aloud?
It is a natural process that the act of speaking comes naturally to every human save those with health related problems like dumbness. And what informs what comes out of a human being’s mouth (children inclusive) is what they might have heard, read, observed or perceived.
While it is natural that the level of conversation that goes on in every household varies depending on the particular family setting giving some children have advantages over others right from infancy due to the type of adults they have around them. While others become highly disadvantaged due to the same reason; books offer a way out of this challenge.
To put things in proper perspective, think of a child from a middle-class family (i.e. father is a medical doctor and mother is a teacher) and another child from a lower-class family (i.e. father is a carpenter and mother is a cleaner) and another child from a poor family (i.e. father is jobless and mother is a petty trader). Can you imagine the level of discussions in these various homes? More often the middle-class family will take into serious consideration the welfare of their children in terms of education, associations (like friends and peer groups); the working class parents at most times will desire to do likewise but more often feel incapable while the poor family will leave their children to learn by chance.
So, where do we go from here? CONVERSATION!!! Conversation is the prime garden in which vocabulary grows, and conversations vary greatly from home to home. It is in light of this that we as adults should see the more reasons why we should read aloud to the younger ones.
(to be continued)
Abdul Ghaniy Otukogbe. He is married with 3 kids, a Learning Instructor with Adult Education of ERYC, UK – with special interest in Literacy, Numeracy and Learning Disabilities.