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The Importance of Reading with Your Child

by Rona Hollows |

Throughout the month of October, there are a number of literature events being celebrated; from International School Library month and Libraries Week (8 October) through to National Poetry Day (4 October), all of which are great opportunities to get your child/ren involved and build their love of reading and writing.

Literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and listen in a way that lets us communicate effectively and make sense of the world. If a child lacks vital literacy skills it can hold them back at every stage of their life - as a child they will struggle at school, as a young adult they will be locked out of the job market, and as a parent they won't be able to help support their own child's learning.

Research conducted by the National Literacy Trust found that children who have a book of their own are 15 times more likely to read above the level expected for their age than those children who don’t own a book. It also found that the longer children keep an enjoyment of reading going, the greater the benefits are in the classroom.

Reading to your child has so many benefits asit sets young children up to succeed, develops language skills, exercises your child’s brain, enhances a child’s concentration and encourages a thirst for knowledge. Reading a range of books to your child teaches them about different topics, develops their imagination and creativity and helps to develop empathy; in addition to creating a lovely bond between you and your child.

Tips for Parents

When you become a parent, you are your child’s first teacher and your home is where their first learning takes place by talking, playing, reading, writing, counting and listening to your child. Here are some helpful tips for the different stages from birth to age 7:

0–2 Year olds:
Babies and toddlers need stimulation in their first 3 years to help with their learning so you need to talk to them from the moment they are born (some mums even read to their children when they are still inside their tummies). Just talk, listen, play, sing and encourage them as much as possible and have fun together. You can read aloud to them or tell them stories as this all helps with their learning.

3–4 Year olds:
At this age children learn by playing and copying things that they see you doing and saying and you can support their learning by showing them what to do and talking to them. Let them help with setting the table, the weekly shop or doing a few other small chores; as these are ideal opportunities for your child to understand and learn new things.

5–7 Year olds:
Children normally start school in the September after they turn 4 and school then becomes the centre of your child’s learning. They now have much more interaction with other children and build new relationships. This is where you can still help them understand the world around them by reading with them every-day (even 10 minutes makes a difference), encourage them to retell a story they have heard and read things around them like cereal packets, notices and signs in shops. Take the time to enjoy puzzles together and encourage them to build on their new school writing skills by helping you write cards for birthdays, shopping lists and titles for drawings they have done.

Try to regularly visit your local library
Whilst children do regular guided and group reading during the school term, it has been reported that children who don’t read over the summer break lose an average of 3 months’ worth of reading achievement which adds up to a 2-year gap by the time they start Year 5.

If you have not yet taken your child to a local library, it is never too late and is very beneficial once they start reception year and are starting to learn to read; even if you are lucky enough to have plenty of books at home. Many libraries run activities over the school holidays breaks and during the summer holidays; the UK’s biggest free reading challenge takes place with 98% of UK Libraries taking part.

The Summer Reading Challenge which started in 1999, is for children aged 4-11 and is run annually by The Reading Agency with a different theme every year. This year’s theme was ‘Mischief Makers’ to celebrate the 80thAnniversary of the Beano and its aim was to get children to read six or more books from the library during the summer holidays. Children then received a certificate for reading 6 books, a wristband for 12 books and a medal for 18 books. In an Impact Research study for the Summer Reading Challenge, the UK Literacy Association (UKLA) found that the Challenge contributed to bridging the 'summer holiday gap' in children's reading achievement.

One-on-one time with your child
The most important thing to remember is reading with your child should be fun and enjoyable for both of you; so just turn off the TV and find a quiet place with no distractions. You don’t even need to read a book as you can just tell your child short, simple stories you know and it is quality time you can enjoy together.


Get reading and enjoy that one-on-one time with your child (before they become teenagers and don’t want to see you). We would love for you to share your favourite books you read together with us on our Facebook post
😊

Rona XO

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