Reading Aloud is Allowed!Kim Roberts
“Shhh, this is a library!” Perhaps you have been on the receiving end of that command once upon a time, or maybe you have even been the, “Shusher.” While libraries traditionally offer a quiet environment for reading and studying, times, and rules, have changed. All five Citrus Libraries branches are community-friendly spaces where talking at a moderate level is allowed. In fact, reading aloud is encouraged!
Reading aloud to a child helps develop literacy skills, and other life skills as well. Of course, vocabulary grows as a child is exposed to more and more words, and children who hear stories read aloud develop a strong connection between spoken and written words. It is never too soon to read to your children. A baby’s brain grows at an astonishing rate. Even if your child is too young to speak, they can, and will listen. Fill their ears with favorite stories from your own childhood. Reading aloud is not only a learning experience, it is a bonding experience. The special attention your child receives creates a pleasant pathway in the brain: reading equals learning equals love. Future success in school begins at home with quality reading time.
Having stories read to them can even improve children’s social skills. It can help them develop empathy and compassion for others, as they learn to relate to characters in a story. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University discovered that reading a story actually creates network connections in the brain similar to having lived through the experience. A child’s world may seem small, family, friends, toys – but add books to that world and it will grow to amazing proportions.
What if you feel like you are always on the move, and there is no time in your life for reading aloud? Audiobooks can be a wonderful addition to you and your child’s harried existence. Citrus Libraries offers the Libby App, so you can download and play audiobooks anywhere through your smart device. CDs are also available for checkout. Listening to a great story together can help pass the time on a long road trip, or even just during a regular commute to school, soccer, etc.
Encourage older children to read to younger siblings. Older children who read to their siblings gain self-confidence, even as their younger counterparts gain the self-confidence that comes by feeling valued. Mix it up now and then. If your child is already a good reader, ask them to read a story to you, or take turns together as a family.
The following books are fun to read aloud, and are available at Citrus Libraries:
Ages 0-5 – Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type, by Doreen Cronin
(and other Click, Clack books)
Ellsworth’s Extraordinary Electric Ears, by Valorie Fisher
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff
(and other If You Give books)
Ten Minutes to Bed Little Unicorn, by Rhiannon Fielding
Ages 5-9 – The Book with No Pictures, by B.J Novak
Duck on a Bike, by David Shannon
(and Duck on a Tractor)
Weslandia, by Paul Fleischman
Ages 9 and Up – Try some classics to read together over an extended period:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis
Old Yeller, by Carl Burger
The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
In the words of Theodor Geisel (also known as, “Dr. Seuss”), “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”
For additional assistance on finding read-alouds for you and your child, visit your local branch of the Citrus County Library System and speak to a staff member. Branch information can be found by visiting the library’s website at citruslibraries.org/locations.