Reading aloud with older kids

by | Jan 20, 2020

There is a common misconception that once a child can read confidently on their own, you should stop reading aloud to them.

Reading aloud to older children- Nikki Young

Most parents stop reading to their child by the time they are eight years-old, with only 19% of 8-10’s being read to on a daily basis.

Research shows, however, that there is a strong correlation between older children being read to and children choosing to read for pleasure. In other words, by continuing to read to your older child, you are cementing that love of reading.

Why is this important?

– Only around half of the 8-18-year-olds surveyed annually by the National Literacy Trust said they read for pleasure, with only a quarter reading on a daily basis. The majority admitted to preferring screentime to books.

– Reading enjoyment is linked to academic success, with children who enjoy reading more likely to read above the expected level for their age.

– Enjoyment of reading is also linked to mental wellbeing: Children who enjoy reading and who have a positive attitude towards it, are more likely to have higher mental wellbeing scores.

I’m not ashamed to admit I still read with my son, even though he is eleven. He is perfectly capable of reading independently, and does so, often, but we have got into a habit of sharing books together and both of us enjoy this time. It may have something to do with him being the youngest of three, I don’t know, but I also think it is because we both enjoy sharing the stories and being able to discuss them together.

Children’s books are great and it’s a crying shame for an adult to miss out on them.

As an adult, you have much to gain from reading a children’s book, believe me. I have reviewed many children’s books on this blog, which I would highly recommend reading together with your child.

We are currently reading War Horse. My son is interested in both World Wars, having studied them at school and we have watched the War Horse film. The book, however, is written from the horse’s point of view, so it provides a really interesting take on events as they unfolded during the course of World War I.

It’s fuelled lots of discussion about the use of horses during this time and how it changed our attitudes to war and the way we fought them.

We spend 10-15 minutes reading on most days. There have been times when I’ve felt too busy and stressed to do it, especially when the children were younger, but I’ve always felt better for it. Those few minutes of quiet time, enjoying a story are as beneficial to me as they are to my son. You sometimes forget that at the end of a busy day, it’s good to take the time to do something calming and relaxing.

Reading will always provide this.

What books have you enjoyed reading with your older child?


  1. Deb Colston

    Yes, you’re so right. I admit with shame that I stopped reading with my boys a couple of years back, once they could confidently read for themselves. I do miss the habit of snuggling down with each of them in turn at bedtime to share a good book. You’ve inspired me to reignite the habit. Thank you Nikki. ??

    • Nicola Young

      I hope so! It’s a lovely thing to do.


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