THE IMPORTANCE OF READING – AND HOW TO ENCOURAGE IT
Reading is vitally important in the development of thinking, expressing ideas, expanding vocabulary, and communication skills. Of course, it’s also important for pure enjoyment!
Some children are reluctant readers. They need encouragement and stimulation with whatever type of reading matter you can find that interests them. Other children would happily have their head in a book all day long, lost in a fictional world or amazed by the natural or man-made wonders of our planet. Don’t assume your child is fixed into one type or the other. Apparently reluctant readers may simply discover the joys of reading later than many of their peers and avid keen readers still need their enthusiasm nurtured with a steady supply of captivating books.
Here are some ideas for parents keen to boost reading skills and fun at home:
Encourage reading at home over the summer, using Kindles and tablets as well as books to boost your child’s enthusiasm; offer a wide range of reading matter to help consistently develop a new range of vocabulary and experience.
Fiction isn’t the only route into reading. News magazines such as The Week Junior or National Geographic Kids can capture the interest of children who aren’t fond of stories. Researching passions and hobbies can be fun, using a combination of online searches, days out and non-fiction books. Creating little projects based on all they have found out can be fun; these can be shared proudly with parents returning from work and with friends.
Well-loved stories can be used as the basis of creative fun during the holidays. Children can use what they remember from reading the stories as subject material to make 3-D models in shoe boxes depicting favourite scenes from a book, or create posters to do the same. Creating posters about books also brings together reading with writing and editing skills, as well as getting creative with visuals.
Cooking together is a wonderful way to spend time with your child and can be used for reading practice as well as culinary creativity. Choose a simple recipe, show it to your child and go over it together. Explain that each step must be done in a special order and ask your child to read the recipe aloud to you as you work, step by step.
READING AND WRITING
Reading and writing go hand in hand; the skills reinforce one another and proficiency in both will be improved if you build on the connection between them. Give your child daily opportunities to read and write stories, postcards or letters to family and friends, messages and shopping lists. Encourage your child to get creative with you, writing and illustrating their own mini books by hand and digitally. There are some great tablet or smart phone apps to help with digital book creation.
Other ways to harness reading and writing skills is to learn how to create Powerpoint presentations for fun. Children could use this medium to create a record of a holiday, including family photographs, or even to campaign for a new pet! These Powerpoint skills can of course then be used at school for project work.
Finally, reading isn’t all about books, websites and magazines. Practice reading skills and word power by playing games, e.g. Scrabble, I Spy, word searches, word scrabbles, word of the day, word of the week. This way, the whole family can be involved in your child’s reading development and pleasure.