Let’s be clear; it is going to take all of us.
16 August 2019
As parents, we know that our child will not become a great musician after a short course in learning to read music. We send them to music lessons for years and supervise practice at home, and hear them gradually improve. We know they will not become proficient from attending a weekly lesson but then skipping the practice. Reading and literacy follow a similar path – formal teaching of reading skills gets them started on their reading journey but the practice needs to happen independently. The early years are hard work and require time and consistent commitment but the long-term gains are life-changing.
The Benefits of Reading Reading is a skill that underpins all learning. A confident and competent reader has the world at their feet. Fluent readers achieve greater success in school. It doesn’t matter whether they are reading for pleasure or researching a topic, strong reading skills ensure they understand the material and are capable of utilizing it in their own education and development. Regular reading not only increases their reading competence but results in stronger skills in spelling, comprehension, verbal fluency, a broader vocabulary and a greater awareness of general knowledge.
Reading is also acknowledged as being instrumental in developing empathy and compassion as it allows the reader to see things from a different person’s perspective and to gain insight into the feelings of others too. Furthermore, reading is liberating – readers can vicariously climb mountains and experience the world without having to leave the room. Readers may not be able to physically escape their environments but reading allows them to mentally escape to anywhere they wish. Books can also act as a refuge when the world is overwhelming or unfriendly.
Factors that Contribute to Reading Success Immersion – students need access to a wide range of books and time to read them. Children who grow up surrounded by books are more likely to become proficient readers and learners. Demonstration – students need to see significant people in their lives making reading a priority, even if it is just for a few minutes each day. Engagement – reading for pleasure should be pleasurable (seems obvious doesn’t it?) so students need to have access to reading material that interests them and engages their attention.
We want all our students to be confident and competent readers and to experience success in their lifelong educational journey. The fact is that if the average upper primary student read 10 minutes a day, they would be exposed to over 600,000 extra words per year. Can you join with us and tuck in ten minutes of reading a day to help them read and succeed? *Donalyn Miller in Game Changer: Book Access for All Kids (2018)