By Carol Hinz
Editorial Director, Millbrook Press
Perhaps I am biased, but I think that being read to is one of the great pleasures in life. I still remember a summer road trip during which my mother read Johnny Tremain to us.
As an adult, it’s not so easy to find someone to read to me, but that’s where audiobooks come in. I’m currently listening to Howards End, which I downloaded from LibriVox, and the reader is so good that I truly don’t want the book to come to an end.
A recent article in Education Week describes how more teachers, particularly of teens, are reading aloud to their students. Their reasons for doing so vary: to get students excited about reading, to make literature come alive, to introduce a concept, to make the text more accessible to English language learners or students with disabilities.
I certainly think that as soon as a student begins to read, he or she should spend some time reading independently. But how sad to give up the pleasure of being read to simply because a child can read on his or her own. I love the idea of incorporating reading aloud to students as one way to help them become engaged with the material they’re studying.
The article also reminded me of something Neil Gaiman posted on his blog a while ago. A parent asked him for advice on reading to his daughter. Neil said, in part, “Mostly my advice is this: just do it. Enthusiasm and willingness to do it counts for most of it, and you learn by doing it and get better from doing it.” He has more good advice too, so go check it out!