Research worldwide has shown leisure time reading has many benefits. Famous author, Michael Morpurgo says that “ reading widens and deepens one’s knowledge and understanding, develops the ability to empathise, explore and discover, to be comforted, calmed, excited, provoked and challenged, to spur confidence and creativity….”
Scholastic research on families and reading shows that a home with books and parents who read, encourages their children to read.
There are 4 dynamics that are significant influencers in producing life long readers.
• A child’s belief that reading for fun is important
• A child’s level of enjoyment in reading
• Parent’s reading frequency and reading model
• Parental involvement in their child’s reading habits
So what can you do?
• Sow the “reading is fun”seeds from a very early age. Create time and space for reading together, alone and as a family. Make reading a daily priority at home!
• Create a home Library.
Have books in your home that are appealing, interesting and allow for choice.
• Join the public library in our community, it is free – visit it regularly. Meet the librarians, enjoy the space. Take time to let your children choose their own books.
• Encourage their use of their school library!
Talk to them about the books they take out at school. Encourage them to read around their subjects by reading non-fiction books on the topics covered in Science, Math, Geography, History, Life Orientation, English, Afrikaans and Zulu.
• Encourage the reading of a variety of reading material books, magazines, newspapers, comics, graphic novels, online articles etc.)
• Share books with your children –
Reading aloud to them and with them. Have family readathons! Create reading memories. Celebrate literary days as a family – World Read Aloud Day, Library Week, Readathon Week, Poetry Day, etc.
• Teach your children how to choose books.
Covers, blurbs, starting the book to see if it “hooks you in”. Teach them how to find books on their interests. Help them get to know the authors they enjoy.
• Be a reading model.
It is not what you read that is important but the fact that you set an example to them that reading is fun! Show them that YOU value reading.
• Be involved in your child’s reading journey.
Talk about how reading articles, books, stories, news, internet … make you feel, why you like or don’t like them, what you learned from reading.
Michael Morpurgo said, “all that matters is that they learn to love it [reading] … children want to learn, so give them the love of story first, the rest will follow…”
The challenge is yours to embrace.
(Teacher/librarian & Reading Consultant)
Michael Morpurgo Book Trust Inaugural lecture Sept. 2016
Scholastic Reading Research & Reports 2017
The Book Whisperer (2009) & Reading in the Wild (2013) – Donalyn Miller
Reading Magic – Mem Fox (2008)
www.bestbooksforkids.com/benefits-of-reading.html – Felicity
www.nicolamorgen.com/tag/reading-for-pleasure/ – Nicola Morgan