Why I Stopped Reading Aloud To My Kids (and you should too!)

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Yes, I am afraid it is true, I gave up reading aloud to my twins. 

It happened last Thursday, while we were sitting around the dining room table.

My kids interrupted my reading for the umpteenth time, they broke a plastic leg off their small Ikea plastic table, jeered at me there and then.

Patience, patience.

It was in short supply.

That was it ... I made the decision.

I would stop reading aloud to my rumbustious boy and girl.

I had it.

They simply did not appreciate it any more.

It was high time to move on.

I sat there with the book in my hand, my mouth closed and no one asked me to continue.

The End of an Era

At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child's success is the positive involvement of parents.Jane D. Hull

I did give up reading aloud - this is no joke.

And I was not sorry.

I give up several times every week.

I truly hope you do too.

People are not robots and reading is not programming.

We cannot expect children to be 100% interested in a book every minute of every day of the week.

Sometimes your kids may want to listen somewhat later.

Sometimes they want to play.

Sometimes they prefer listening in the evening, sometimes your voice is not inspiring in the morning.

Kids are imperfect creatures and adults even more.

Don't insist. Don't force it.

That is why, if we want to continue reading aloud, we must first learn how to stop reading aloud to our kids.

Master the art of ending a read aloud, if you want to continue reading aloud on a daily basis.

Conquer your fears.

Lose the battles with a smile on your face if you want to win the war.

I stopped reading many, many times, I wish the same to you.

But I still read aloud to them daily and I wish the same to you.


  1. Very cool post.  I find that if they aren't interested at the moment, that it is best to stop. Time can be spent in other ways.  They will eventually want the time and then it is a rewarding time for all concerned.

  2. This is controversial but in many cases a parent reading and performing a book is not much more stimulating for a child than watching TV. Reading aloud in a way that truly engages children is a difficult skill to master. Frequent stops wherein you let them struggle with the story, guess where it might go, extrapolate details or comment on illustrations make it more of an interactive experience.

  3. An honest post that inspires others to keep on trying. To keep on reading and to know when to stop. It's not easy! I have the best intentions but some days reading is a chore. Best to stop with a smile on your face. I agree.

  4. Hi Gabrielle, 

    Reading aloud is indeed a difficult skill to master - it takes practice, practice and genuine interest.  

    I love what you said: "Frequent stops wherein you let them struggle with the story, guess where it might go, extrapolate details or comment on illustrations make it more of an interactive experience."

    That is so true. Great advice for parents!

    Thank you!

    Read Aloud Dad

    Re: @twitter-370542203:disqus  

  5. Thanks WInnie,

    Indeed, flexibility is a magic word when it comes to reading aloud. 

    If your kids are used to read alouds, it is just a matter of minutes or hours until they start asking for you to read again.

    Read Aloud Dad

    Re: @disqus_SxuFKGnwZe:disqus 

  6. I'm glad you still are able to read aloud to them daily. My kids are 12, 10 and 8 and they still like to be read aloud to even though they can read by themselves.

  7. Hi @twitter-100818788:disqus ,

    Parents like you are my true inspiration.

    My twins are five years old and we still read on a daily basis, but parents like you lead by example.

    After I learned from others that it is possible to maintain this good tradition for a long period (even after children learn to read by themselves), I set my sights on a much more ambitious goal!

    Thanks so much for being an inspiration to parents of younger kids!

    Read Aloud Dad

  8. Ooh!!! Excellent post! I'm so glad you commented on my site about books, so I was able to find your site... a true gem! I'll be adding this site to the small list of blogs I follow. :) Keep up the great work!

  9. That is so kind of you Lisa!

    I am glad that you found the book tips helpful, there are really great books out there that can even change our relationship with our kids!

    I'd love to know whether your kids enjoy any of the books :-)

    Read Aloud Dad