Studies show that reading for pleasure makes a big difference to children’s educational performance.
We live in a technology world today, and children are inclined to watch videos and movies, rather than read a book (and often it is the parent who encourages this – just to have a bit of peace and quite *sigh* – yes we do understand).
However, evidence suggests that children who read for enjoyment every day not only perform better in reading tests than those who don’t, but they also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures.
In fact, reading for pleasure is more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or economic background.
So how can you get your child off to a great start?
You can make a huge difference! Parents are the most important educators in a child’s life – even more important than their teachers – and it’s never too early to start reading together.
Even before they’re born, babies learn to recognise their parents’ voices. Reading to your baby from birth, even for just a few minutes a day, gives them the comfort of hearing your voice and increases their exposure to language.
To help make reading enjoyable and fun, and according to Pearson, who asked experts and authors what they recommend to help get children reading are listed below:
- Make books part of your family life – Always have books around so that you and your children are ready to read whenever there’s a chance
- Join your local library – Get your child a library card ready for when they reopen. You’ll find tons and tons of fantastic books, allow them to pick their own and encourage their own interests.
- Match their interests – Help them find the right book – it doesn’t matter if it’s fiction, poetry, comic books or non-fiction.
- All reading is good – Don’t discount non-fiction, comics, graphic novels, magazines and leaflets. You could even start by watching a read aloud video! Reading is reading and it is all good.
- Get comfortable! Snuggle up somewhere warm and cosy with your child, either in bed, on a beanbag or on the sofa, or make sure they have somewhere comfy when reading alone.
- Ask questions – To keep them interested in the story, ask your child questions as you read such as, ‘What do you think will happen next?’ or ‘Where did we get to last night?’ Can you remember what’s already happened?
- Read whenever you get the chance – Bring along a book or magazine for any time your child has to wait, such as at a doctor’s surgery.
- Read again and again – Encourage your child to re-read favourite books and poems. Re-reading helps to build up fluency and confidence.
- Bedtime stories – Regularly read with your child or children at bedtime. It’s a great way to end the day and to spend valuable time with your child.
- Rhyme and repetition – Books and poems which include rhyme and repetition are great for encouraging your child or children to join in and remember the words.
What are the benefits for children who read
- Helps with language development
- Promotes brain development
- Assists in understanding of a world outside our own
- Strengthens family relationships – read together.
- Provides endless possibilities – so many options – picture books, novels, e-readers and more
Did you know?
Starting in kindergarten, if a student reads 20 minutes a day at home, they will hear 1.8 million words per year. They will have read for 851 hours by 6th grade and on standardized tests, they will likely score better than 90% of their peers. This is compelling data on the benefits of encouraging your child to read!