Encouraging a Love of Reading
One of the top things a child can do to improve their reading is to spend time reading. Funny that!
Unfortunately for many families the struggle to get children to read at home is a constant and frustrating one. There is some benefit in making reading a compulsary activity that children must do, and as a school we expect that children will read daily, but the true benefits come when a child starts to really love reading.
When we were children, my parents read to my sister and I daily. When we were little there were lots of picture books and as we got older these turned into a variety of chapter books, but there was always a story and it was always the highlight of the day. When I began teaching my Dad gave me a book called “The Read-Aloud Handbook” by Jim Trelease (Website here). In this book the author outlines the many benefits of reading aloud to your children. I encourage you to look through the website, as it is very informative and also has lots of ideas for good books to read aloud.
Reading aloud to children has been one of my favourite activities as a teacher. The part I really love is when we get half way through the book and all of a sudden every child wants to read every other book in the library by the same author. I sometimes wonder if we stop reading to our children too early, as even Year 7 and 8 students will sit and listen avidly to a good book that’s read well.
If you are struggling to get your child to read then I highly recommend reading out loud to your child. If you are struggling for book ideas please come and see me – I love children’s books! You could also read the books that you loved as a child to your children. I have spoken to many children in the past who love having this insight into what their parents where like when they were kids, and at the same time they often seem to develop a love of the same books.
Finally, Dads, don’t forget to read with your boys. I read a really interesting book a couple of years ago called ‘Educating Boys’ by Michael Irwin and it spoke about the importance of boys understanding that reading is not just an activity for females, they must see the men in their lives as active readers too, if they are to associate reading with an activity they will willingly participate in. Watch Michael Irwin here.