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Last week in the Wall Street Journal, one of their columnists who rarely appears elsewhere did a short, very interesting op-ed column. The columnist is Meghan Cox Gurdon, their reviewer of children’s books. As long as I have been reading and enjoying her columns, she has supported and encouraged reading aloud to children from an early age. Well, it turns out that reading aloud to your kids is an excellent way of improving their reading comprehension, which so many public school kids missed in the past two years. She cited a study showing that measures of reading skill improved when the kids had been read aloud to.
The results were astounding. Morale and test results soared. Children who hated English lessons, who had experienced literature as daunting and indigestible, were practically running into the classroom to find out what was going to happen next in the stories. Seventeen of the educators used the word “joy” to describe their own experiences of this unorthodox teaching method. When the children were given reading-comprehension tests afterward, average readers had made 8.5 months of progress while poorer students had made 16 months of progress. As the study authors observed: “Simply reading challenging, complex novels aloud and at a fast pace in each lesson repositioned ‘poorer readers’ as ‘good readers’, giving them a more engaged uninterrupted reading experience over a sustained period”.
I can testify to this from my own experience in grade-school. Our sixth-grade teacher read novels aloud to us after lunch every day, and we all listened raptly. The rambunctious boys in the class quieted right down when the teacher read to us. Even as an adult, early in our marriage Ray used to read novels aloud to me just before bedtime. I would often fall asleep before he was done, indicating how relaxing listening made me.
So, parents, if you are struggling with kids who have suffered from the government school closures, here’s an easy way to help them gain back lost learning.Published in