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When Should You Stop Reading Science Aloud To Your Kids?

June 07, 2017 3 min read

When should you stop reading aloud to your kids? Never - read aloud to them as long as they will let you do so! In fact, Blaine and I still enjoy listening to a good book.

But reading science aloud to them is a bit different.

At what point are they ready to start reading and learning rather than listening and learning?  Is there a way for you to even tell?

Today, Paige is back on the Sassafras Science blog to share a few tips from her own experiences to help us wade through these muddy waters.

Let's turn it over to her . . .

When Should You Stop Reading Science Aloud To Your Kids?

We all know reading aloud is great for our kids, but should we continue to read science to them for the entire time we homeschool?

I agree with the twins, reading aloud to your kids is something that you should do early, often, and as long as they want you to. Reading aloud to our children for at least 15 minutes a day has been proven to benefit their brains in a multitude of ways - just check out these articles:

Typically, we think of reading aloud the great novels to our students, but those 15 minutes can include a bit of science learning as well, especially in those early years when our students are working hard on their reading skills.

So, with that said - should we just continue to read aloud our student's science materials until they graduate?

Not so much. There is a point at which our students can take over the reading reigns of their science education.

This point is different for every child. It really depends upon their reading abilities and their comprehension skills.

The Typical Progression For Reading Science

There is a natural path you can take to transition from reading science aloud to your students to them reading their science materials on their own. Let's look at those steps.

Step 1 - Read aloud to them.

In the beginning, your students are working super hard on learning how to read - all that decoding is hard work!

So, to allow them to enjoy science, we read science aloud to them. Plus, at this point, they can comprehend a lot more than they can read.

After you finish reading, you will discuss what you read with them and then ask them to narrate or give a summary of the passage to you. You can read more about this process in our 3 content related tips for notebooking.

Step 2 - They read to you.

This second step is a transitional one - a step that takes you from point a to point b.

Once your students are reading fairly well, you can have them read all or portions of their science. This way you can help them with difficult words and make sure they know what they are reading.

You will discuss the materials and have your students narrate back to you what they have learned, just like you did in the first step.

My only caveats for this step are:

  1. Make sure that the materials you ask them to read are just below their reading level.
  2. And don't force them to read aloud if they don't like to do so.

Some children don't need to go through this transitional step, which is why we always discuss to gauge their comprehension of the materials.

Step 3 - Read and discuss.

Once, you are confident that your students can handle reading their science on their own, let them do so!

Just make sure to always make time to discuss the materials so that you can verify that they are understanding what they have read. Plus, this discussion time gives you a chance to make sure they are picking up on all the key points.

How to handle reading aloud living books for science

Wrapping It Up

You started reading aloud science to your students.

Then, as their reading skills develop they move through a transitional period where they read the materials to you.

As their confidence grows, they can read their science materials on their own and discuss it with you afterward.

The pace at which your student moves through this progression will differ, but moving them through these steps will set them on the path to learning science with confidence!

Psst...This post all began with someone asking a question. Did you know that we love to answer questions from our Sassy-Sci (or soon-to-be Sassy-Sci) peeps? If you have a question email it our way or check out all the user questions posts to see if we have already covered it.


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