xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' The Font of Noelage: Developing a love of reading.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Developing a love of reading.

A new school year has begun. The government says we need to improve our education standards to rank among the top nations of the world.
To do this we need to ensure that our children acquire good reading skills, because reading is the key to knowledge.
Just as a building needs a solid foundation, we need to ensure that our children's education also has a sound foundation.The early years of schooling are of primary importance.
It is absolutely essential that our children have a successful beginning to their thirteen years of schooling from Pre Primary through to Year Twelve.
It has been said that we should expect children to begin their schooling possessing three important qualities.

·        Good manners
·        A sense of honesty
·        A love of language and stories.

These three things can be provided by the poorest home in the country. They cannot be guaranteed by the richest school.
We can only hope that all parents will teach their children good manners and a sense of honesty well before they reach Pre Primary, but just how do parents develop in their children a love of literature?

Before School: Parents should introduce their children to books and stories when they are still babies.
This is a time when they depend on adults to read to them and tell them stories. Parents should take every opportunity to read to their children. Not only from books. Read street signs, shop signs, labels on food packets, signs on doors and windows. While there should be no attempt at direct instruction, some children will begin to recognise words and know that they convey a message.
Borrowing books from the local library could also be started in the Pre-School years.
They should also have some treasured books of their own.

Beginning Readers: Direct reading instruction begins when children commence formal language work at school at ages 5 to 7 years.
Children will still appreciate reading and hearing stories that were read to them in their pre-school days.
Visits to the local library should now be an eagerly awaited highlight of each week.

Independent Readers: By the middle years of primary school most children find they can read without any assistance. This happens at about 8 years for some children and around 10 years for others.
Children at this stage can now be encouraged to read short story books. This gives them a sense of achievement and the confidence and desire to read longer novels later on.
However, they will still enjoy reading "younger" material. This helps them relax and gain reassurance and reading power with pleasant and familiar materials.
Obviously library visits are now of great importance and some children may be choosing books at quite an advanced level.

Reading Extension: Once children’s reading skills have become so natural that they are unaware of the actual reading process they will tackle anything ... as long as it interests them.
Difficulty now is with the CONTENT and CONCEPTS rather than the act of reading itself.
This is the critical stage.
Now that they can read, children need books that are interesting so that they become readers by choice. It is essential that they be kept interested in reading so that they will become lifetime readers.
Many will still want to read easier material and this should not be discouraged as it is a valuable means of relaxing.
A child’s ability to read often depends on the quality of the language experiences she or he has enjoyed at home before commencing school.
A home where language is used correctly, where people love words and stories, where tales are read and re-read, where parents provide positive models for interesting speech and are seen as writers and readers who expect their children to do likewise, provides very fertile soil indeed in which our young readers can bloom and grow.      
In the 1980s the then British Prime Minister, Mrs Margaret Thatcher, established a committee to investigate the teaching of reading and other aspects of developing language skills in British schools.
The committee eventually compiled a massive report entitled, “A Language For Life” which was widely acclaimed for its insights into the teaching of English.
One of the committee's considerations concerned the question of how children could best be introduced to the very complex process known as reading.
On this vital issue the report concluded.

            “It has been said that the best way to prepare the very young child for reading is to hold her on your lap and read aloud the stories she likes to hear, over and over again.
            The printed pages, the physical comfort and security, the reassuring voice, the fascination of the story: All these combine in the child’s mind to identify books as something which hold great pleasure.
            This is the most valuable piece of advice that a parent can be given.”

The love of reading of Australian children would rise dramatically ..... as would their level of learning .... if we could persuade all parents to follow this good advice and to read to their children regularly from the earliest age.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear your opinion! If for some technical reason it won't let you leave a comment, please email me at bourke@iinet.net.au