To Read or Not to Read—Supporting Reading at Home
Books have always provided an escape for the reader, time to explore another world of characters or broaden knowledge and understanding on a topic. The range of books, texts and stories available to us are never ending and it is up to us to find the one that will hook us and make us want to keep reading. As parents, teachers and models to the boys at Newington we can create a base where the boys want to read. Not read because they have to but read for the pure pleasure of doing so.
During the school day the boys have time for uninterrupted reading: any genre, text type or story line they choose! And wow do we have some interesting choices. Ranging from the wild heroics of Captain Underpants, to the dark and twisted tales written by Stephen King and even the biological findings of David Attenborough, our boys show their love for reading. There is always the space to develop this love further, so the boys continue to be avid readers in constant search of knowledge and meaning.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data suggests a statistically significant fall in reading for pleasure in six-year period from 2006-2012. The highest fall is in ages 12-14. We have the ability to encourage the boys reading while they are still in primary school so that they want to read for pleasure, not just at school but at home and in other settings.
Allowing time at home for the boys to engage in voluntary reading time, of a text of their choice, has been found to have a positive effect on comprehension, vocabulary, writing and spelling. Not only do these improve, but voluntary reading time for students at school and at home improves:
- Quality of reading
- General knowledge
- Understanding of the English language and its grammatical features
- Overall thinking and analysing ability
- Comprehension of discipline-specific texts
Successful reading is more than just ‘read aloud’ fluency and performance. Providing a child with a secure, safe and comfortable environment for them to read to themselves, read to an adult, or listen to someone reading promotes confidence, modelling and a shared love for reading, even if it is just for 10 minutes a day.
Some ways you can help facilitate successful reading at home are as follows:
Asking questions to promote communication:
What do you think?
What would you do?
What do you think will happen next?
What do you know about…?
Why do you think that happened?
Sharing a book, taking the time to read it together each day whether it be a picture or chapter book.
Have quality books easily accessible and available.
Combine languages, reading and play to extend vocabulary in all languages.
Encourage children to read a text that they enjoy. Whether a comic book, picture book, graphic novel or chapter book it is still a starting place and can be developed as a child’s love for reading deepens.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin
Elissa Julian – Learning Enhancement Intern