Like many kid’s books, The Adventures of Mo (Mo) can be read aloud to elementary school-aged children either online or as a print on demand children’s book. While the words are large enough for anyone to read, there are still some dos and don’ts to make reading time special, more enjoyable, and productive. I discovered insightful online reading tips from ISD622 North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale-School System.
Here are the highlights:
Why Read Aloud
When we read aloud, we do much more than encourage early readers to associate reading time with warm, fuzzy feelings. Besides learning new words, expanding their vocabularies, and becoming more independent readers, when we read aloud, we help young readers to:
- Develop knowledge about a variety of topics. Mo, for example, introduces early readers to cardinal directions, and touches upon geography and history in every US state.
- Gain exposure to a variety of writing styles and structures.
- Explore social and moral issues as well as behaviors. Mo addresses many childhood or life lessons, everything ranging from bullying to honesty. Some chapters cover emotions, community, or making mistakes. Mo is a good children’s book to read aloud when teaching about moments that touch your heart.
- Be motivated to read on their own. Mo is an adventure book for kids that enables children to also track Mo’s journey across the country and play a travel trivia game by guessing which state Mo & Finchy are visiting based on clues in each chapter.
- Discover which authors and writing styles they like. For instance, they may prefer mysteries or science fiction stories over other genres.
- Build their listening skills and attention spans.
- Expand their understanding of the world by introducing them to new people, places and experiences.
- Identify with characters and situations. As an online chapter book series, Mo offers ample situations that children may relate to or have actually experienced. In one chapter, for example, they learn how cheating hurts them and everyone around them. In other chapters, they learn what they can accomplish by working with diverse animals or how to face their fears.
Believe the Science
When you read aloud to your children – even for 20 minutes a day – it can help to shape a child’s social and emotional development, according to a study, “Reading Aloud, Play and Social-Emotional Development”, which was published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The study showed that reading aloud to early readers and other positive parenting activities can impact their behavior. It can help reduce their behavioral problems. “When parents read [aloud] with their children more . . . they learn to use words to describe feelings that are otherwise difficult and this enables them to better control their behavior when they have challenging feelings like anger or sadness,” says Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, the study’s principal investigator. Likewise, the study shows that playing imaginative games can also offer special social and emotional opportunities. Mo presents parents with fun opportunities to read aloud and also play creative guessing games. Children not only guess which state the main characters are visiting, but also can guess how far they traveled between states in each chapter, imagine what other animals look or act like, or search for the answers to trivia questions embedded in many of the chapters.
An article published by PBS presents even more benefits pertaining to when we read aloud:
- Brain scans show how hearing stories strengthens the part of the brain associated with visual imagery, story comprehension, and word meaning.
- Kindergarten children who were read aloud to at least three times a week had a significantly greater phenomic awareness than did children who were read aloud to less often.
The time children spend reading aloud with a parent or family member can be among their fondest childhood memories. So go ahead: carve out some time – anytime on any day – to open your child’s mind and inspire your child’s imagination. Perhaps the most important reason to read aloud to kids can be summed up by Reading Is Fundamental, a nonprofit that inspires kids to read by providing them with great books: “Reading together is a time for closeness and cuddling – another way to show your love as a parent, grandparent or caring adult.” Part 2 of this article offers key tips on how to read aloud to kids!