The Handbook begins with a rationale for the importance of reading aloud to children, and cites statistics and case studies that show the benefits it offers to literacy, family togetherness, child development, and more. Then, Trelease walks the reader through some practical techniques as well as beginning reading suggestions for every age and interest.
Based on his experience as a father and grandfather, and his familiarity with many anecdotes from other parents, Trelease tells us (p. 4) that there are some major advantages derived from reading aloud to [your] child:
- Associating reading with pleasure in the child’s brain
- Establishing background knowledge (ie, what animals live on farms, what a bulldozer looks like, what a fiddle is).
- Building vocabulary (Children’s picture books are meant to be read to a child not by a child because their vocabulary and structure are too sophisticated.)
- Provide a positive reading role model (YOU!)
Although I’m only about halfway done reading The Handbook, I’ve skimmed the final sections that contain a plethora of reading recommendations of every sort. I highly recommend The Read-Aloud Handbook to parents, teachers, librarians, and any other professional that works with children.
Here’s a link to the author Jim Trelease’s home page that contains book lists, lecture downloads, and excerpts/major points from every chapter of his book.