The Secret To Your Child Enjoying Reading

Several years ago I had the opportunity to go to a professional development course about the importance of children developing reading skills. I was privileged to hear a passionate speaker, who was an expert in assisting children to read, and her message was very clear. There is now an overwhelming body of research to indicate the following:

  1. Children whose parents spend time reading to them, and with them, tend to demonstrate better reading skills, greater enjoyment of reading and more creative writing skills.
  2. A young child’s creativity is diminished by watching television and movies, and increased by reading books. 
  3. Children whose parents model reading for pleasure tend to engage with and enjoy reading more.

In our hectic family lives it is the urgent (and not necessarily the important) that constantly screams at us – it demands our attention! Sadly, reading with our children is one of those non-urgent but important tasks that we can easily ‘put off till tomorrow’. However, the research demonstrates that spending time with our children to develop their reading skills is an investment of time, the importance of which cannot be overestimated.

Make no mistake, children will sit down in front of the television (my father used to call it the ‘Idiot Box’) or an iPad, or a movie in preference to reading a book … if we let them. However, if we can make reading a regular part of their routine, and an activity we model to them, we help them develop literacy habits which will hold them in good stead for the rest of their lives.

This brings me to my next point; how often do our children see us reading for pleasure? I know, I know … who has time for that? However, our children take their cues from us, and if they see us enjoying reading they will come to understand its importance and take enjoyment from it as well.

There is now a large body of evidence that show literacy skills gained through reading are the foundation of all learning across every discipline at school. As parents, we therefore need to ask these important questions:

 “Do I spend time reading to and with my children?”

“Do I show enthusiasm about reading and do my children see me reading for pleasure?”

“Do I need to limit the amount of time my children are on the iPad, watching TV and movies?”

These are very difficult questions indeed. Given that there is an election tomorrow, I thought it appropriate to quote a former Prime Minister, who infamously once said, “Life wasn’t meant to be easy!”

Geoffrey Fouracre – Principal