Mother and daughter reading a book together, smiling and showing warmth and joy in the enjoyable read-aloud moment.

The Power of Reading Aloud to Enhance Literacy Skills in Montessori Education

“Books are Windows to the World” sounds familiar to us. If books are windows to the world, then reading is the way to open them. If you are a parent, have you started reading books to your child? How often do you read books to your child? What is the method by which you read the book to your child? Books have many interesting things inside, but if children, who cannot yet read, do not capture these things through their readers, then they may lose interest in reading activities. So, let’s dig deeper into the reading aloud activity!

Reading Aloud & Literacy

Literacy is a very important skill for children. It is the ability to read, write, speak, and listen in order to communicate effectively. However, acquiring this ability can be challenging due to the abstract nature of language concepts. Children need to engage in enjoyable experiences to develop a love for and proficiency in literacy. One of them is listening to stories!

If you are already proficient in reading, you should definitely engage in silent reading. However, for children who cannot read yet but are actually interested in books, how can they participate in reading activities? Reading aloud is the answer!

Reading aloud refers to using an audible voice to read written texts in a book so that the audience can hear them clearly. When a child concentrates on the story in a book while listening to our voice narrating it, they are effectively engaging in the act of reading. Thus, if you use this method, children can ‘read’ from an early age—even babies!

A loving mother reads a book to her two children, creating a moment of togetherness and fostering a love of reading through the educational read-aloud activity.

Benefits of Reading Aloud

Stimulating Brain’s Development

Early childhood (0–6 years) is the golden age. Why? One reason is that the brain is still in prime condition, which has active and fast-growing brain cells, so that appropriate stimulation at this age will optimize brain development.

 According to the Montessori perspective, early childhood is a sensitive period of refinement of senses. Reading aloud stimulates children’s sense of hearing and seeing. Brain cells receive this stimulation and use it to actively connect cells in the brain.

Building Language Foundation

In Montessori education, long before children study in the Language area using the Pink, Blue and Green series, children are always prepared with Oral Language activities. One of those activities is reading aloud and storytelling. These activities not only tell stories to the children, but also serve as a model of good and correct pronunciation, enrich vocabulary, and indirectly expose the children to the use of correct sentence structures.

Improving Concentration and Listening Skills

Reading aloud encourages children to take a moment to be quiet, delay speaking, and listen. By doing so, they enhance their auditory perception to fully understand the narrative. Consistent training of this skill will enhance the child’s focus and concentration span.

Stimulating Creativity and Imagination

Even if fantasy storybooks are not used in Montessori education, reading aloud activities can stimulate creativity and imagination if the stories are presented in unique and fun ways. The use of illustrations, voice intonation, and activities after reading can help children develop their imagination.

Transferring Lesson and Moral Messages

Many storybooks have moral messages and life values that are very good for children. However, if the child only looks at the pictures without reading them, they will miss this ‘treasure’. Reading not only allows us to convey moral messages, but we can also explain some lessons, such as science and mathematics material contained in certain storybooks.

Steps of Reading Aloud

If done correctly, reading aloud can yield optimal benefits. What are the steps?

Choose Age-appropriate Books 

Choose books that are appropriate for your child’s growth and development. Younger children naturally have a shorter concentration span, so it’s best to choose books that aren’t too long, with 1-3 sentences per page. Books that have beautiful illustrations and interesting details can make reading aloud sessions more lively.

Read First

Parents or teachers must surely read the book first before reading it to children. You need to make sure the book has a positive characterization and storyline and doesn’t use confusing sentences or stories. You can prepare for the necessary emphasis and variations by reading ahead.

Use an Appealing Voice

Change your tone and volume to coincide with the action in the story. Through your voice and gestures, you can show excitement about telling the story, so that the children will feel it too. High and low intonations make the atmosphere more dynamic.

Invite Children to Participate & Discuss

Young children like to move their bodies. They will be excited if they become an active part of the story. If the character in the book jumps, get them to jump. If there is a lion in the story, invite them to roar like a lion. This kind of active participation extends their concentration to listen and helps them to remain interested in listening until the end. For example, discuss the characters in the book and how they feel and think. Ask the question, “If you were the King, what would you do?” These questions will stimulate emotional and problem solving skills.

Mother and son are engrossed in reading a book together, with the mother imitating the voices in the story with enthusiasm, creating an immersive and enjoyable read-aloud experience.

Reading Aloud in Montessori Education

Reading aloud is something we can encounter every day in Montessori classes. Dr. Maria Montessori realized the importance of reading aloud because she realized that children experience a language-sensitive period from the age of 0 to 6 years. It means that reading aloud can start as early as possible, even when the child is still a baby.

 Montessori classrooms always have open bookshelves to make it easier for children to access books independently. Montessori teachers will read the books aloud and even provide arts and crafts activities as an extension to provide a deeper impression of the books’ stories and messages.

Reading aloud provides an initial foundation for children to enrich their vocabulary, develop phonemic awareness, and understand the correct sequence of sentences. Montessori education considers reading aloud as an important preparation for developing children’s literacy skills. Consistent indirect preparation can help children learn something better. Reading aloud is indirect preparation for children to master writing and reading skills later on.

So, let’s spend time reading aloud with our children!

FAQ

Reading aloud involves reading a book loud enough for other people to hear, particularly young children. This activity allows children to “read” and understand stories even though they cannot yet read on their own.

Reading aloud is like a window to the world for children, opening the door to literacy and a love of reading. The benefits are plentiful, from improving literacy skills and fostering imagination and creativity to strengthening the parent-child bond.

Reading aloud can be started in infancy. From birth, babies are exposed to language through the voices of their parents and others around them. Reading stories in a soft and loving voice can help with the development of a baby’s brain and language. As children grow older, choose books that are appropriate for their age and interests.

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