Humorous Quick Reads About Families With Kids

Story Read Aloud – Are the Kids Listening?

Published July 19, 2020 in Reading for kids - 0 Comments
story read aloud to boys

A story read aloud can enthrall children and draw them into a shared activity with the adult who reads to them, but how can I get my grandsons to sit still long enough to listen to a story?

I started a daily story read aloud with the kids about a month ago. Both of my grandsons fought the activity with all of their might. Read about my struggles with them in Reading for Kids – Why Don’t My Grandkids Want To?

First: Get Them Quiet

story read aloud - boys fight After the initial struggle to refrain my grandsons from yelling and fighting while I was reading, I made a discovery. The best way to get them quiet for 30 minutes of reading time, was to threaten them with 35 minutes of reading time. Each further infraction added another 5 minutes to the reading time.

I am confident educators do not recommend threats as an inspiration to lifelong reading, but the threat kept them quiet. Once they were quiet, the story had a chance to sneak into their brain.

Second: Choose a Book that Interests Them

*** This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you. ***

story read aloud in libraryMy husband (Pa Paw to the boys) attempted to get the ball rolling on the first day and suggested a book to the 15 year old. And I assembled some of the four year old’s books for him. Failure threatened us at the start. The teen refused to read the recommended book and the youngster resisted looking at any of his books.

So I resorted to a story read aloud. I picked Steel Trapp The Challenge by Ridley Pearson which Pa Paw recommended. My husband chose well because the story told of a 15-year-old boy who was gifted intellectually and always outsmarted his parents. What 15 year-old doesn’t dream of that?

At first, the boys listened because I threatened them with extra reading time. I had a few other rules too. I didn’t allow them to touch each other or the dog. And they had to remain quiet unless commenting about the story. I did allow for the wiggliness of the little one. I tolerated him roaming about the room as long as he was quiet and didn’t annoy anyone.

Third: Persist, Persist, Persist

As days went by, the boys accepted the reading routine. We only read on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday because those were the days the teen joined us. I confess we missed a few days besides Tuesday and Thursday. But, overall we maintained a schedule.

The boys never smiled and clapped when I announced reading time. Mostly, they resigned themselves to their fate and jockeyed for the best sofa spot and the favored blankie. I had to extended the reading time only a few times because of their rowdy behavior.

Fourth: 4 Year Old Listens to Story Read Aloud

A few weeks into the great reading experiment, I was reading pre-nap stories to the four year old, as usual. This day he selected a chapter book with a high word-to-picture ratio. His choice surprised me because he preferred books with many pictures and few words.

When questioned, he said that yes, he did want that book. I began reading and waited for the fidgets and the protests. None came. I continued reading and he continued listening. Fifteen minutes later I finished the book. During the entire reading he did not make any comment or question that didn’t pertain to the book. I was shocked.

Fifth: Teen Changes Attitude

A few days later, I noticed the teen was commenting during the reading of the Steel Trapp book. Since we missed a few days in our reading, I often started with a recap. If I missed one of the facts or a character’s name, he corrected me. By the end of the month (and the end of the book), he was reminding me when it was reading time.

The last day I read for 45 minutes so we could finish the book. We were all on the edge of our chairs waiting to see if our hero would save the lady in distress, catch the bad guy, and win the science challenge. I won’t spoil the end of the book by telling you what happened.

Last: The Reward

I will tell you that by the end of the book, (about a month) I noticed a marked improvement in the listening attention span of both boys. Not only that, it was fun for us all to vicariously share an adventure together. We are searching for our next book.

If you are interested in beginning to read to a child, I highly recommend¬†The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. He gives advice for when and how to begin reading to a child. He also gives a list of do’s and don’ts and even recommends specific books (a long list) to read.

Spread the love

No comments yet

Leave a Reply: