Some of my favorite memories in Elementary school, other than the holiday parties, were the times my teachers would read aloud as the class sat on the carpet. What is interesting about this is the fact that my least favorite time of day as an elementary student was the time we had individual reading. I don’t know if it had to do with the fact that I didn’t enjoy the silence, or that I preferred sitting on the soft carpet over my desk, but I am certain I found it easier to listen, imagine and picture the events on the story in my head as the teacher read it to me than I could when I read to myself.
It does depend, however on what is being read. If the material is non fiction, I would much rather read it in my head so I could go at my own pace to better understand the information. It is when we would read non fiction that a teacher reading aloud would provide a story-telling like environment that I thought was relaxing and helped me enjoy the story more. Something special about reading aloud is having everyone on the same page experiencing the same emotions together. In “Reading aloud- Is it Worth it?- an article that discusses the many benefits of reading aloud, I completely related to a quote from a teacher in Massachusetts on reading aloud:
“During read-aloud, we share the excitement, the suspense, the emotion, and the sheer fun of a new book and its intriguing or annoying characters,” said Nancy Lacedonia, who teaches in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts.
I enjoyed the time during read aloud to focus on nothing but the story being told. There was nothing we had to do but simply listen. While some may find this a chance to be more easily distracted, I found myself getting much more distracted during the individual reading time.
My favorite memory of being read aloud to was in my second grade classroom. The first Harry Potter book was out and my teacher, Mrs. Pierce read about thirty minutes of it to us each day. While I am a major Harry Potter fan, possibly from being introduced by Mrs. Pierce, I remember cherishing this time of the day. One aspect I admired so much about the book was it’s difficulty level and thickness as it inspired me to read harder, more challenging books at a younger age.
As I aged, teachers regressed from reading aloud and by middle school it was officially nixed from the schedule. It was not until my freshman year of high school in my IB English class that my teacher decided that she read Romeo and Juliet aloud to us over a span of two weeks. I noticed a complete different change in our class discussions as each student became increasingly engaged and even more excited.
While it is crucial to spend a vast amount of time reading individually throughout a child and adolescent’s years, being read aloud to can be a considerable alternative. The fact that my parents read to me nearly ever night as a child could have something to do with my admiration for that “read aloud” section on a class’ schedule, however being read aloud to is an extremely beneficial aspect in one’s reading development.