Today is a bit of an unusual post since I’m not going to write about my own reading for once. I’m going to talk about the importance of children’s reading, hence the title…
You might be wondering why I’ve chosen this topic, it is unusual, to say the least. However, I work in a school as a teaching assistant so I have to read with children every single day of my working life. I absolutely LOVE IT because it makes me feel like i’m having an impact on that child’s life which is AWESOME.
So anyway, that is why i’m going to be writing about children’s reading but what is it that I want to say exactly? Well, I want to make it clear just how important reading is from a young age.
I am currently based in a Year 1 class (5/6 year olds) and so this is a majorly important time because the children are only just beginning to read, sounding out and blending their words until they can read fluently. Every child is different bear in mind so you win some and you lose some. We all have different interests so not every child is going to love reading.
In previous years, I have worked in Year 4 (8/9 year olds), which is a totally different ball park. You aren’t teaching them to read and sound out anymore. It is all about comprehension, what does the author mean? Reading between the lines, harder vocabulary, expression when reading. But sometimes I feel like we focus too much on reading as hard work. If you’re asking a child, how does the character feel? What does this word mean? What do you think is going to happen next? It is gonna get incredibly boring, really fast!
Also, I feel like schools zap the fun out of reading as there is no choice from the children. Although, Biff, Chip and Kipper books are highly important when a child is first learning to read, they are insanely boring. Most children, boys especially, find them monotonous. Yeah okay, they go on different adventures but where’s the action? The unusual-ness of Roald Dahl, the real-life problems of Jacqueline Wilson, the creepiness of A Series of Unfortunate Events, these are the books that make children want to read. They appeal to boys, girls, younger children, older children and just about anyone!
If we can encourage children to read out of the curriculum and introduce different authors and stories into their lives, well they may just grow to love reading. That’s why, if you’re a parent reading this, then I urge you to read as much as you can to your children, and encourage them to read a wide variety of books and authors. You never know, they may grow up one day to write stories of their own and open up the world for other children.
One last thing that can have a real impact on a child’s love of reading is how we read to them. If you’re bored by the book, then the child is more likely to pick up on your tone of voice or lack of enthusiasm. Oh and believe me, I know it’s hard to be enthusiastic about a book with 10 pages with a sentence on each page, but you have to try and be hyped up and excited about the book for their sake! Let the child pick what they want to read, more often than not, they’ll develop a preference of genre or author or even type of book (i.e. picture book, story book, pop-up book).
Oh and DO NOT try to pull a child away from playing to read, because it defeats the object of enjoyment. The child may be happy playing with lego or watching the tv or even drawing/doodling, so don’t stop them because reading will become a chore.
My advice would be to read with them just before bed, even if bed time is a struggle, once they’re nice and comfortable or even nearly falling asleep, that is the time to read. A child will begin to connect comfort with reading…hopefully! Or even just snuggle up on the couch with the TV off or just with the volume turned down low and read or listen to them. Make them feel like they’re on top of the World, “Ooo are you going to show off how good at reading you are?” or “C’mon (Mr/Miss) Clever Clogs, let’s read”. I know it sounds like a really cheesy CBeebies presenter but children react to compliments.
So I know this turned into a bit of a rant/essay but I hope that parents, aunties, uncles, sisters and brothers out there reading this will take note and together we can boost reading for enjoyment amongst children! YAYYYY! Thanks for reading and stay tuned to The Book Moo!