The 19th century was clear on this point: Reading aloud is not just for toddlers. As Dickens and company recognized, it's a pleasure and a source of intellectual stimulation for people of any age. In our time, however, we concentrate upon reading aloud to the very young. We know that reading aloud is a key element in developing our child's ability to read for himself. But once he can read, there is a tendency to believe our job is over. This is a mistake. Though a child of eight is no toddler, he still appreciates the closeness, affection, and one-on-one attention that comes with reading aloud. It's best to take turns. When you—and your child—read aloud, he's exposed to a level of language that is a notch above what he would be comfortable reading alone. As with younger children, a second-grader understands far more words than he can recognize by sight. When he encounters these words in a story that you read together, he stretches his vocabulary and generally becomes more sophisticated about how good language works.