By middle school, many of us homeschool moms stop reading with our children. Kids are “too cool” for it, and we parents assume they would rather read on their own. After all, they have full proficiency with reading now. However, I’ve caught my older son sitting nearby, listening in as I read to his little brother. Despite being a middle schooler, he still enjoys being read to!
Regardless of age, children love the connection of read aloud times. But how do you read aloud with your child when they feel they are too old to cuddle? And what do you read when they’re too old for picture books?
Why Read Aloud with Your Middle Schooler?
There are many benefits to continuing to read aloud with your kids even after they can read well on their own. It maintains a bond that we have been building with our kids since they were babies. Reading aloud gives us a special time to be together and enjoy quiet time as a family.
Reading aloud also allows students to expand their vocabulary and knowledge of the world. Kids are more willing to stop and ask clarifying questions when they are reading with their family as opposed to silently reading on their own. The discussions that arise as a result of sharing a book together are priceless.
How Do You Read Aloud with a Middle Schooler?
Middle schoolers are at an age where they crave independence; therefore they may resist being read to, feeling it is beneath them. For families with elementary aged children, it’s easy to simply start reading to the young ones and let the older kids listen from the sidelines. You don't even have to invite them to listen. They just will.
When the middle schoolers are the younger ones of the family, this sneaky maneuver doesn't work. Instead, set aside a special read aloud time. This may be in the afternoon when all other work is done, or maybe after dinner while everyone is still seated together around the table. Make it a comfortable, relaxing time. Limit the time to around fifteen to twenty minutes. This is long enough to get involved in the story, but short enough to keep it from being burdensome.
What Books Should You Read to a Middle Schooler?
Choose books that are fun for reading aloud. Fantasy and adventure books are engaging read alouds for most kids. Historical fiction can lead to interesting conversations while tying into your history studies.
Consider books that your child might not pick for herself. Many kids, even in middle grades, are intimidated by big books, so read aloud time is a perfect chance to invest in a thick book that looks too long for them to read on their own. Since you are the reader, the book instantly becomes more accessible and less threatening.
Also try a book outside the typical genres. For instance, if your child loves reading modern, humorous fiction but thinks the classics are boring, try reading Treasure Island or some other captivating classic to prove her wrong. As the mother of boys, reading aloud has been an opportunity for me to introduce my kids to many female heroines that they love but might not have chosen on their own because of the mistaken impression that those are books for girls.
Reading aloud is not something we have to give up just because our kids have gotten older! Children of all ages can still enjoy reading with the family, even when it’s time to graduate from picture books and onto classic literature.
About the Author
Stephanie Black is a writer and homeschool mama of two boys in Indianapolis, IN. Along with her husband and feisty rescue dog, they enjoy hiking, road tripping, and loudly singing 90s rock music. You can follow along with her adventures and keep up with her local homeschool scene at her blog Indy Homeschool.