The Importance of Reading at Home
Reading is the most important gift you can give your children. The ability to read and a desire to read for pleasure underpins academic success and helps with mental well-being. with the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement being how much parents read to their children.
Fortunately, children are born with a love of stories! I’ve never met a child who doesn’t like having a story read to them! So, what can you do?
Read to your children as often as you are able and talk about what you have read.
Talk about the pictures; talk about what has happened and what you think might happen; talk about things that you might have done in your life that are similar or different; talk about your reactions and ask them about theirs. Read fiction, non-fiction, comics, magazines, newspapers adverts, cereal packets, menus, leaflets, bills, even political party manifestos (well, maybe that is going a bit far). But remember that it is stories that they will love and that it is story language that they will need to do well in school. .
Join your local library. An invaluable source of books and all completely free and also a good place to hang out on a wet afternoon. Librarians are lovely – they really don’t mind how many books you take out. They can order in your favourites and recommend new authors to try. Also, ask about audio books – my son played for hours when he was small, building with Lego whilst listening to a story. We try to visit the library once a year with the children – sadly the Library Van no longer visits Durweston.
If you can, make sure your children see you reading. Take a book when you go on holiday, when you go on a long journey, when you to to the park, when you pick them up from school. Talk about the books that you read when you were little and the books that you are reading now.
Read with your children. We will hear your child read at least once a week and more often if we feel they need extra support. We ask that you read with your child at least 5 times a week. All children should bring home a school reading book that is matched to their reading ability and a reading record book for you to record their reading in, although as children move up the school, we expect the responsibility for recording home reading to move from you to them. School staff will write something every they hear a child read and will give ideas for things to practice. Look for sounds or words in a circle - these are things we will be checking on next time we hear your child read.
Don't make reading a battle! If your child is tired, read to them, take it in turns or read it together. And in the early stages, make sure you re-read the stories to build accuracy and fluency. If you need any help or advice, ask your child's teacher.