5 Reasons (or reminders) Why We Should Read Aloud To Our Children


“Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.”
― Marilyn Jager Adams

In a time where there are SO many distractions and forms of digital entertainment for our children it’s so easy to drop the beautiful habit of reading aloud. Whether you have babes in arms, preschoolers, homeschoolers or children in full-time school; reading aloud is a gift we give our children, a chance to snuggle up with them and a perfect opportunity to slow down and immerse ourselves in a child’s literary world.

Some of the happiest memories of my childhood were when my beautiful mother would gather myself and my siblings on her bed and she would either read a book or make up an adventure story! The bed would become a flying carpet or a ship at sea; we’d be lost on a desert island or taking flight over sights and scenery that she would describe and that I can still ‘picture’ today.


“To receive many blessings, read to your children from the womb to the tomb.”
― Joyce Herzog

So here are 5 reasons (or reminders) why we should read aloud to our children:

  1.  Improves Their Long Term Reading Success

Decades of research shows that reading aloud to a child daily is one of the most important activities for their reading success. That goes for older children, too. Studies show that children who are read-to are more likely to have good vocabularies, write well, and do well overall in school . They’re also more likely to keep reading on their own

2.  Helps Expand Their Vocabulary

Your child’s auditory understanding is higher than their reading comprehension. When you pick a difficult book that your kids can’t read on their own, you are exposing them to a treasure chest of new vocabulary words. This stretches a child’s language development, particularly if you stop to talk about the meaning of these harder words.

I encourage my children to write down ‘hard words’ on a piece of paper whilst they are reading, and look them up later; a little habit I picked up from my Dad. Obviously if they can’t understand the story due to said hard word I help them out!

3. Increases Their Imagination And Creativity

When our children have travelled to the country fayre with Wilbur and Charlotte and ‘tasted’ Templeton’s treats, when they’ve ‘smelt’ the Shire and lost themselves in Middle-earth; when you’ve gasped together and cried (that would be me) whilst reading about the life of Bruno and Shmuel the books do their own work in our listeners hearts and imaginations. I finished reading ‘Charlotte’s Web’ to my youngest children over a week ago and they are still playing and crafting games around the characters they’ve fallen in love with!


4.   It’s Time Spent Together.

Reading time is time when you’re focusing on no one else and nothing else but them. It’s impossible to read to your son or daughter and look at your smart phone or watch TV at the same time! It’s a prime opportunity to slow down, sit down, snuggle up and breath in a book with your children – now, who doesn’t want to do that?!

5.  It Builds Life Skills

It builds listening skills, increases a child’s attention span, and develops the ability to concentrate at length of which all are learned skills.

So where should I Start?

  1. Pick a perfect 15 minute slot every day and create a habit
  2. Pull yourself a book list together; there are some helpful ideas here
  3. Ask your children what they would like to read
  4. Just DO IT! It doesn’t matter if you’re not the best reader or eloquent speaker; you’re creating a bond, amazing memories and instilling life skills into your children!

We have an obligation to read aloud to our children. To read them things they enjoy. To read to them stories we are already tired of. To do the voices, to make it interesting, and not to stop reading to them just because they learn to read to themselves – Neil Gaiman

Want to hear more? Tomorrow morning on my radio show ‘Live With Leah’ I’m interviewing primary school teacher and English subject leader Jenny Jenkins. We’re going to be chatting about the joy of books, reading aloud to our children and how we can encourage this in family life amidst the digital distractions we’re bombarded with!

Check out the show live at 8am (GMT), listen locally on 101.5fm or stream from Radioplus.org.uk.

Connect with us during the show via our Facebook page – tell us where you’re listening from and ask questions to add to our live conversation!

And finally, check out this book for more inspiration:

caught up in a story

Caught up in story by Sarah Clarkson

Podcasts And Periscope – My Top 5 Picks!


My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence. – Edith Sitwell

So I’m a stickler for using my time well, you know the vibe; if you’re doing dishes you can listen to an audio book, if you’re doing your hair and makeup you can listen/watch a periscope video, if you’re driving you can listen to a podcast or your favourite preacher! Yep, I’m all over this, everyday!

If you saw my post last week you’ll know I use audio books, I’ll keep that list updated every month, but I’m not including that info in this post!

So here are my top 5 listening loves right now:


 1.  Read-Aloud Revival

This podcast is all about building your family culture around books. This is not just for home educators although the host does homeschool her children she’s careful to be inclusive in her questions and content.

Two of my favourites are her interview with Susan Wise Bauer and her lovely chat with Sarah Clarkson from Storyformed – check it out book fans!

2.  On Being with Krista Tippett

On Being is a Peabody Award-winning public radio conversation and podcast, a Webby Award-winning website and online exploration, a publisher and public event convener. On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? We explore these questions in their richness and complexity in 21st-century lives and endeavors. We pursue wisdom and moral imagination as much as knowledge; we esteem nuance and poetry as much as fact. 

I just LOVE this podcast and I feel like I’m passing on a treasure by sharing it with you but it’s too good to keep to myself (smile). These conversations that accompany me whilst cleaning my kitchen and doing my dishes feed my poetic soul, stretch my capacity for language and constantly remind me why I took sociology at University! I also love this conversational style of broadcasting and I try to emulate it in my small community radio show. Two of my favourites are her treasured interview with poet Mary Oliver on ‘listening to the world’ and her inspiring conversation with Mary Catherine Bateson on ‘composing a life.’


3.  Charlotte Gambill

“So much of the growth we could have had is lost because of the people we feared, or the opinions we allowed to redirect us.”
― Charlotte Gambill, The Miracle in the Middle: Finding God’s Voice in the Void

I love Charlotte; she’s a Yorkshire girl doing it large for Jesus! We both started life in the same church in Bradford many moons ago, and she’s now Senior Pastor at Life Church with her husband Steve. I like her down-to-earth style, her straight from The Word content and her lovely, lively personality.

She’s a mother, author and a mighty fine preacher – I learn from her style, her content and her leadership.

Here she is in action if you want to take a look! You can find lots on YouTube of course; there’s no regular pattern to her content on the web but I keep an eye out most weeks.


A picture may be worth a thousand words, but live video can take you someplace and show you around.

So, if you haven’t discovered it yet, Periscope is the new phenomenon launched this past summer that has just gone wild! Periscope is a new live stream video app linked with Twitter that allows you to do live broadcasts about anything you want! I tried to start broadcasting myself but either my android phone or my home wi-fi doesn’t like it and it has been unsuccessful, but I can still watch them!

I don’t give Periscope a lot of time and I only watch scopes that have good content and are worth my time; so here are two I watch regularly:

4.  Money Saving Mom (Crystal Paine) – this is linked to her Katch account so you can catch up on her scopes.

Crystal is a mother, home educator, author and successful business woman; I’ve actually been reading her blog for around 10 years but only recently has she sprung to ‘success’ and I’m cheering her on. Her scopes talk about blogging, business, time management and book reviews – so right up my street!

5.  Chalene Johnson

Chalene is a fun, inspiring entrepreneur and business woman. She’s a leader, amazing communicator and a forerunner in the fitness industry! I find her motivating; her content isn’t always what I need so I don’t check in every day but there are generally a few a week that have really helpful content around ‘getting it done’ that relates to me right now!

There are a few more podcasts that I’m trying out at the moment but haven’t heard enough to put them on my fav’s list, but I am enjoying them…I’ll keep you posted!

I’d love to hear from you, who are you listening to at the moment?