Do you read the newspaper aloud to your children? If not, your family is missing out on a rich source of learning. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 77 percent of children ages 8 to 18 read no newspapers on a given day. But there is good news. You can enrich your homeschool by reading the newspaper aloud.
In this newsletter, we give you three reasons why reading the newspaper aloud should be part of your homeschool week. Much of this information comes from Jim Trelease’s The Read Aloud Handbook, an excellent resource on the benefits of reading aloud to your family.
1. Newspapers Contain More Rare Words Than Most Other Sources
According to Trelease, newspapers contain 68.3 rare words per thousand. That’s a big number, surpassed only by scientific papers. Reading the newspaper beats adult to child conversations (9.0 rare words) and even adult books (52.7 rare words). When you read the newspaper aloud, you delve into those rare words that help them most when it’s time for school and learning.
2. Newspapers Enhance the Home’s Print Climate
Having an actual, physical newspaper in the home helps condition children to print. If a newspaper is visible on the kitchen table or beside an easy chair, children are seeing all those rich and informative articles and headlines. Daily, their eyes are drawn toward complex vocabulary and new and interesting problems. Newspapers used to be the way Americans entered the world of reading. Today, the print newspaper industry is in decline. This is a shame because it means the print climate of homes is also in decline. And research shows that kids who grow up in a home rich in print (abounding with books, magazines, and newspapers) are more successful in school and life.
3. Newspapers Pass Visible Torches
By reading the newspaper aloud to your kids, you are modeling good habits. You are showing your children the habits of a good reader, as well as a good citizen. Reading the news to yourself on your phone or table it not the same. Your readings habits are out of your child’s line of sight. Also, reading the news digitally—on Facebook, blogs, and RSS feeds—does not go very deep. It lends itself to skimming rather than pondering and digesting. And as Trelease pointedly asks, “How do you pass invisible torches?”