Research tells us that children who grow up to read for pleasure and not just because they have to, do better at school. Did you know that if we read aloud to our children for 30 minutes a day by the time they start school they will have heard 750 hours of stories or more!
One of the most enduring memories of my own childhood is how it felt listening to my Dad read the adventures of Mary Plain to me. Remembering carries me straight back to a treasured shared experience. I don't recall much about Mary Plain's actual adventures and to be honest having revisited the stories recently I don't find them half as funny, but the memories of that time when my dad and I were literally belly laughing out loud are precious.
Why is this important?
Children who are read to, become readers themselves and this creates a love of reading. Reading for pleasure is a strong predictor of future reading attainment, it is certainly the case that the 'will' to read influences the 'skill'. It has a positive impact on children's vocabulary, general knowledge, enriched imagination and writing skills. Building joint experiences and vocabularies by reading books and stories aloud helps to create a shared sense of family identity. It helps support the feeling of safety and security for small children and encourages a lifelong love of books.
How can I help my child love reading?
- Make reading time precious and special
- Make each book exciting and a treat, be enthusiastic
- Give your attention, commit and sit at their level
- Allow time for talk and questions (ask… I wonder… I think… what do you think?)
- Explore anything that is new, be curious
- Collect opinions, likes and dislikes
- Make links to yours and your child's own experiences
- Be willing to repeat and revisit texts often
- Let the child join in/take the lead
- Keep reading to your child even when they can read themselves
How will this help your child progress with reading at school?
- Develop their vocabulary
- Promote listening and attention
- Help them make and check predictions as they read
- Learn to make wider deductions about meanings of words and stories
- Enable them to imagine other people and places
- Establish the blue prints of stories and traditional tales
- Become sensitive to sounds and rhymes
- Be able to empathise with others
- Ask questions about the stories they read
To find out more about reading for pleasure visit https://researchrichpedagogies.org
There are lots of organisations currently offering 'story time' online and we have links to our favourites on our website here, it's definitely worth a read.
Alison Jones, Primary English Adviser, Babcock LDP