The idea of reading stories aloud to our children is almost as old as the idea of parenthood itself. Long before printed books were available, children learned history, language, and more simply by oral retelling.
Now that many of our children are exposed to technology at a young age, reading stories aloud can seem a bit outdated. But using read-alouds with our children, especially children who have ADHD, can be wonderfully beneficial.
Why Read Aloud to Kids with ADHD
Since children who have ADHD may have problems with executive functioning, they may have trouble processing information and understanding how to use it. If you have a child with auditory processing issues, for example, he or she may not hear speech correctly, process it correctly, or understand how to turn it into action.
And that’s where reading aloud can help. As you read aloud to your children, you may be able to spot auditory processing issues at an early age. You can even use reading aloud to strengthen their auditory processing skills.
Reading aloud also serves another purpose: it can make your children more interested in reading. Since reading requires sustained attention, children who have ADHD may find it difficult to sit still or concentrate long enough to develop a love for reading on their own.
With read-alouds, though, you can make stories fascinating simply by the way you read them. Your children might become fans of certain characters, which could inspire them to seek out and read more books about those characters on their own.
How to Read Aloud to Kids with ADHD
Now, the big question is how do you read aloud to kids with ADHD? Simple. Bring the book to life as much as you humanly can. Remember, the goal is to keep your kids interested in the story. So do whatever you can to make that happen.
Here are a few tips to try:
Use different voices for each character.
Stand up and act out a scene or two as you read.
Have the kids take turns helping you read a passage.
Dress up in a costume based on one of the characters.
Let your child choose the book you read.
Give your child something soft to fidget with or squeeze as you read.
Most of all, don’t expect your child to sit still during the read-aloud session. Moving around may actually help him or her to pay attention better.
It’s also helpful to stop every now and then to do a short review of what you’ve read so far and to build interest for what’s to come. Simple questions to ask:
Tell me what happened with (character) in the beginning?
Did you hear what (character) said to (different character)?
What do you think will happen next?
Do you think the story will have a happy ending?
Afterwards, ask your child what he or she liked and didn’t like about the story. Use those answers as a guide for choosing your next novel. Depending on your child’s age, you could do an extension activity such as drawing a picture of an event in the story or writing an alternate ending.
Reading aloud to children who have ADHD can help them develop listening skills, retain information, and learn to love reading. Adding read-aloud books to your homeschooling curriculum is definitely worth the time and the effort.
And who knows? Your child may even end up reading stories aloud to you in return!