Raise Your Child's Reading Comprehension Level Without Reading

Dec 6, 2010

Near the beginning of our homeschooling journey, we discovered the joy of audiobooks. They provided my oldest son with stories that he wasn't ready to read on his own and that I didn't always have time to read with him. It became a bedtime ritual for him to drift off to sleep with visions of Mr. Tumnus, Lucy stepping through a wardrobe, talking beavers, Aslan, young Harry, Hermione, and Ron, and an endless line of other characters and magical places. Little did he know that he was also increasing his vocabulary and comprehension by hearing unfamiliar words used in context, learning proper pronunciation, and developing a love for literature.

"Reading aloud to students fosters the process of phonemic awareness by introducing the sounds of written language, allows access to the structure of written language, demonstrates appropriate 
phrasing and intonation, and provides a model of fluent reading." - Dr. Frank Serafini 1

It saddens me that so many children lose their interest in reading for pleasure before they have had a chance to experience the timeless classics and new epics. Or they develop a "sweet tooth" for pop-culture chapter books and refuse to read anything of substance. Or see the movie and think that they've experienced the fullness of the story. Of course, it would be wonderful if every parent had the time to sit and read for hours out of books like The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, The Wind and the Willows, Treasure Island, and The Chronicles of Narnia. There are also the parents who never developed a love of reading for themselves or have difficulty reading aloud. Enter audiobooks. Let someone else read to your kids.

"The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children."  - Commission on Reading

Check out free audiobook CDs from your local library. Buy audiobooks as gifts or put them on a wishlist for grandparents. Subscribe to an online site like Audible.com and download audiobooks to your iPod. Listen to them in the car together, while waiting at the orthodontist or doctor, during family time or dinner, or, like we did, at bedtime. Let your children tell you about the books they listen to, ask questions, but don't try to dissect it. Let them learn to simply enjoy the stories and the rest will follow.

Note: M1 took a standardized test at the end of his 6th grade year and scored in the senior high school level for reading comprehension and vocabulary. 

1 Audiobooks & Literacy: An Educator's Guide to Utilizing Audiobooks in the Classroom

Linked to Helpful Homeschool Hints.


  1. Thanks for checking out my blog! I really like yours too! We seem to have very similar interests and families. We love audio books. They save a mama's voice when they want more and when the age gap is just too big. Off to read more ;0)

  2. I am a new follower. I hope you will follow me back.

  3. Great point! I have also found audio books to be valuable for my children. I have had two seriously delayed readers- audio books kept allowed them to "read" at their interest level and to talk with their friends about the books that they were "reading". I should add that my dd who had the delays just finished her master's program on Friday! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Thank-you for this post! I found it through the ABC's of Homeschooling link-up.
    My kids LOVE audiobooks and it was so nice to read here that it is a good thing. I have 2 who like to read but also enjoy audiobooks and a teen who does not like to read but has a huge vocabulary. I bet that vocabulary was developed due to my reading to her so much and then her finding audio books for herself. She knows how to pronounce words that I don't!

    Thanks, again! I'm now following your blog.


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