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What You Miss After Your Child Learns to Read

31 March 2016

From The Wall Street Journal:

Annalee Svoboda, 7, cracked the code around Thanksgiving.

Before then, she would sit on the couch next to her mom, struggling to sound out every T, H and E of the word “the.” Her mother, Andrea, described the process as “painful.”

Then one day, it clicked. Annalee read on her own. She started bringing home from school small chapter books, with characters and stories. At bedtime, she said good night and settled under the covers on her own with her favorite “Elephant and Piggie” series book.

. . . .

“Part of me likes their independence. We can say ‘OK, it’s time for bed. If you can’t sleep, read for a half-hour,’ ” says Ms. Svoboda, of both Annalee and her older brother Adam, 9. “Part of me misses the snuggling up and being able to cuddle and read.”

The day a child learns to read independently is among the most anticipated and important childhood milestones. Parents who have been reading aloud to a child since birth, and sometimes before, have been eagerly waiting to see him or her develop the confidence and understanding to read on their own. When that moment finally arrives, however, many parents are caught off guard, and feel a little melancholic. Rituals change as their children’s horizons broaden.

. . . .

The survey, of 2,558 parents and children, found many children wished the parents hadn’t stopped. Eight in 10 children ages 6 to 17 said they loved or liked being read aloud to because it is a special time together with their parents. Among children ages 6 to 11, 40% wished their parents would continue.

“There is nothing a child of any age wants more than a parent’s total attention,” says Mary Brigid Barrett, founder and president of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance in Wayland, Mass. She read to her three grown children until they were teens, sharing the adventures of Harry Potter.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)

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2 Comments to “What You Miss After Your Child Learns to Read”

  1. Just because your kid can read, doesn’t mean you should stop reading to them.

    My 9-year-old son is a great reader, but we still read at bedtime. We’ll trade off on a chapter or two – I read a page to him and he reads a page to me. It’s a great way for me to see how his reading ability is progressing as well as discuss the story.

    I was a voracious reader as a kid and would’ve loved to have someone reading a book along with me so I could discuss it as we went.

  2. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy being read aloud to. My parents, in their 80s, still carry on their tradition of reading to one another in the evenings. They pick a book they both want to read and off they go!

    My dad and I read together all the way through my high school graduation. When we read Shakespeare, he’d take all the male parts, and I’d read the female ones. Fun!

    I read aloud to my kids until they were 10. It was a fun way to spend time together. I’d have been happy to carry on indefinitely, but they were ready to move on. My reading aloud to them was never just because, when they were little, they could not read. Together-time and the bedtime ritual were equally important.

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