It is a long held debate whether reading aloud to students benefits student’s learning. As in any debate, there are those who agree and those who do not agree. As one who spent many years working with students, I can tell you what I have found.
I have taught students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and have found that students like teachers who not only give opportunities to read in class, but also take the time to read to them as well. When I was principal of a school in the northern area of Peel District, I recall a Kindergarten student in an enraptured and thrilled state, saying: “Mr. Evans makes the story come alive”. This student not only enjoyed the story, but got the full picture as the story was being read.
When a teacher reads to students, it is an opportunity for the listening skills of students to undergo further development. The teacher uses the sills of articulation and enunciation to clearly communicate learning attributes of awareness and self motivation that involve the students, will, intent, drive, excitement, pathos, bathos, and passion.
Another learning attribute is the commitment to learning and strategic effort. This helps students to plan and commit deliberate and strategic effort to ensuring their own personal learning. Students can improve their desire to control their learning, assimilate and develop unique and personal learner-difference variables and develop self-managed sustained effort to reach stated learning goals.
Reading to students is a key element in improving classroom climate and culture. Mary Bowman-Kruhm, a faculty associate at Johns Hopkins School of Professional Studies in Business and Education, teaches reading classes for prospective special-education teachers. In one of her lectures, she told students that: “I read to my graduate students at the beginning of class because it gives them time to get settled and to clear their minds of the day’s activities.”
Bowman-Kruhm further stated that as a new teacher she became aware that reading aloud to her students had benefits. She recalls: “…my students became very quiet, they heard some good literature, and they got through an entire book. One student said it was the first book he had read in its entirety since first grade.”
When I was a classroom teacher at Nahani Way Public School, where my classroom was the stage for several years, the principal and I were in full agreement of the importance of teachers reading to students. It was one of the things that our school was known for and it was a critical piece in the success of our students. I wonder if it could have been the reason that many teachers from other schools came in search of the success magic of our school? We had great teachers and a healthy school culture, but, until, I have evidence to the contrary, I will continue to believe that our success was in part due to our emphasis on reading to the students.