21st Century children are surrounded by technology. Gone are the days when referring to an apple meant a green thing grown by Granny Smith. Ipad and Kindle may well be the preferred reading tools for mum and dad, if indeed they have time to read at all. How then are we inspiring our young children to read?
The benefits of reading in extending a child’s knowledge and understanding of vocabulary are certainly proven. Not only for enjoyment, starting a life-long relationship with books is crucial to stretch the imagination, develop new interests and expand knowledge. Instilling a wide vocabulary, comprehension and accurate spelling skills are essential benefits of reading, putting in place the foundations for success in education in the future.
Why not challenge your child to read a certain number of books this summer term? It can be fun to visit the library together to allow your child to choose appropriate books which interest them. Including non-fiction books in their reading will extend their vocabulary further.
Listening to your child read, sharing the reading with them so they combine listening skills with reading, as well as discussing the meaning of words and their comprehension of the story as you go along, will allow you to evaluate if you are pitching their book choices at the right level. Your child’s school can also give you guidance on books to read, but remember that children learn at different speeds so try not to make comparisons.
Above all it is important to remember that reading should be fun so try not to turn it into a chore. Books should be easily accessible around the home, in the kitchen, bedroom, living room and if your child is finding reading a particular book difficult, change it, so they are not put off. Reading little and often can be the most effective way to see results. Include reading within the daily routine, for example just before bed, so it becomes ‘the norm’ to have their head in a book.
Setting a good example is critical. For example, boys need to see Dad reading, so make books part of everyday family life for everyone.