DIY: How to Become A Remarkable Read Aloud Parent

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You have been reading to your kids for weeks or even months.

You are subscribed to a handful of blogs to receive the latest posts and book tips from other read-aloud aficionados.

You can't wait for the seventh edition of The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease to come out on June 25th.

Sport aficionados or crazy for reading aloud
Crazy for reading aloud!
You adore those Top 10 and Top 100 children's book lists that pepper the Internet.

You can't live without your daily dose of:

Playing by the Book,

Jen Robinson's Book Page,

Pragmatic Mom,

Vintage Kid's Books My Kid Loves,

Happy Birthday Author,

Children's Book-A-Day Almanac and .... (please fill in your favorite blogs too, in the comments section below this post!)

You are a living read-aloud example to other parents.
Read Aloud Handbook Seventh Edition cover Trelease
Seventh edition of the read-aloud bible

The sheer volume of books that you read is certainly unquestionable.

You have clocked hours and days and weeks of reading.

Now, what is the problem?

Small doubts are lingering in your mind.

Sure, there is a lot of talk and some research about the significance of reading aloud and its benefits.

Talk and research.

But, there was a lot of talk and research about the benefits of aspirin for kids and then the medical profession one day said that aspirins could be harmful and that the research was flawed.

Many experts say it is of great importance to leave kids to play as much as possible.

Is reading aloud really a game changer or is it ... a modern-day craze?

Let me tell you about my greatest worry.

I've been thinking about the effect of reading aloud.

More is better right?

But, does clocking hours matter really matter?

I know, I'm the one who first mentioned the importance of the 10,000 hours rule when reading aloud.

So what is the ideal amount of reading?

It's a question that has been plaguing me.

And then it hit me.

Why Reading Aloud Does Not Matter

          Be a yardstick of quality. 
          Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected.
          Steve Jobs

It really does not matter.

Reading aloud is just a technique.

It is an activity.

Why is reading aloud of no importance?

Instead of explaining, let me share the names of the first five books that I can see when I glanceover my shoulder at my own personal (adult) bookshelf:

The Family Nutrition Book

Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

Getting More

Schott's Original Miscellany

The Prophet: Trotsky: 1879-1940

If I chose any of these randomly selected fine books to read aloud to my kids, they might enjoy the first sentence or two - but not the rest.
Standing Out by Bryon Thompson

If they listened to the books, they might build their passive vocabulary a bit, but then they might be able to block everything out.

As much as it pains me to say it: reading aloud is not the solution.

We talk so much about reading aloud these days.

But what really matters is reading the right stuff.

It's not the hours. It's the quality.

It's not the clarity of enunciation that truly matters. It's the shared emotion.

It's not the statistics. It's the human experience.

If you want to capture the hearts and minds, it's not the reading aloud that truly matters.

It's the choice of books.


  1. Well said...So glad you are back writing your blog again.

  2. This is so scary how true it is. And it is not just the choice of book but the time that said choice book is introduced.

  3. Thanks Eric,

    That is so nice of you to say. And it is obvious how I've been away for a bit, as I forgot to mention your fabulous blog Happy Birthday Author in my post! Look up.... its there!

    Read Aloud Dad

    Re: @twitter-114296220:disqus

  4. Thanks so much Jenny!

    Great point! Some remarkable books do not work their magic at a certain age. But just a few months or years later, they can become an all-time favorite.

    it is extremely important to read AND re-read good books!

    Read Aloud Dad

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  5. This made me smile a LOT - another great post (and thanks so much for including me - feel very humbled!)

  6. Hi Zoe,

    Thanks for your kind words.

    When I see what you are doing on a daily basis with your two girls - I am always floored.

    Thanks for being such an inspiration and a great role model!

    Read Aloud Dad

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  7. I hadn't realized that there was a new edition of the Read-Aloud Handbook coming out. There's news to brighten a Monday morning. I have just pre-ordered. Thanks! And thanks for including me in this post. I agree, of course, that the choice of books is very important (and the timing). What I love is when things from books come up in our day to day life. That tells me that I'm doing something right :-)

  8. I love this post! Wonderful points about the importance of quality time spent with quality books. I started my blog, 365 Great Children's Books, to share some of our favorite books with friends and family (and anyone else who might be looking for a wonderful story to read with their child.) When I first started visiting the children's section of the library with my son, I was amazed at how many bad and mediocre books there are out there. I've had so much fun putting our running list together, and, like you, am always on the lookout for fabulous books. I enjoy following your blog. Thanks for another great post! ~ Lauren, 365 Great Children's Books (

  9. Thanks so much for including me! I'm honored!

  10. You are most welcome PragmaticMom,

    You have the best children's book lists on every imaginable topic - on this planet!

    They are simply infectious. When you start reading them, you can't stop!
    Read Aloud Dad