Give the gift of reading this Christmas
Reading is perhaps the key focus of any Primary school provision. The ability to decode and understand texts ensures that children can independently access all other forms of learning in and out of school.
Children begin to learn to read through learning letters and sounds in phonics lessons. Once children have grasped the basic sounds, they can blend these to make words but they also need to learn words which don’t conform to phonic rules. Early Readers are assessed on their ability to both read words and sentences and on their understanding of these (comprehension). We often find that the two don’t mirror each other, children might be able to read something but couldn’t explain what they have read, for example. Being able to thoroughly engage with a text, looking at intention, language choice and hidden meaning, is a skill which is carefully developed through primary school and into the secondary years.
All parents want their children to be readers. I remember the thrill as a parent, when my children were able to read independently and fairly fluently- they couldn’t wait to read to everyone and anyone who came to the house. This love of reading is infectious and by cultivating it within our school and homes, we are helping children in a myriad of ways. There is a proven link between a genuine love of reading and reduced stress and improved wellbeing. Readers are more likely to be well-informed and manage more successfully in adult life and there is a clear link between good readers and outcomes in statutory testing across all subjects of the curriculum.
We know that many parents have struggled to keep reading positive at home. Parents have told us that reading can seem like a chore and causes stress in family life. It is for this reason that this year, we are still expecting children to ‘Strive for Five’ but allowing children to read books of their choice outside school. Indeed, we are encouraging children to read a variety of text types for enjoyment and to find preferences which reflect their own interests. We want reading at home to be fun and something you want to do together. Hopefully, by having the choice of text, families can be free to make reading a pleasurable activity again. This is a way to ensure children are getting the regular reading they need but also that they develop good habits which will last a lifetime.
Teachers and support staff are always available to give advice about books for individual children and we have many different titles in school to suit all tastes. However, why don’t you encourage family and friends to give the gift of reading this year? A book voucher is a great gift as it will allow children to choose something which interests them and which they are more likely to read.
As a child, I remember receiving ‘Richard Scarry’s Busiest people ever’ book for Christmas one year when I was very small. I must have spent many hours, reading the book and looking at the pictures and as I got older, I used the text whilst I ‘played schools’ with my sisters. In the summer, it was found in my parent’s loft, well read and still so special to me, that I now have it at home. Hopefully, you can give a book this Christmas that will stay with your child for a lifetime.