Tomorrow afternoon marks the end of ten months of structure for masses of three and a half to eighteen year-olds and the adults who support their education as we welcome the long, lazy days of summer holidays. Every summer does have a story – and in the lives of our kids, hopefully every summer has many stories. Summer break is the ideal time to enjoy books of one’s own choosing; whether it is for dwelling on the pictures, finding Waldo, listening to the story or reading it yourself. It is a time to forget that there ever was such a thing as reading levels. It is a time to set up your own class of stuffed animals, dolls, pets, siblings and friends and be the teacher for a change. It is about sharing favourite stories by taking turns reading pages or the parts of different characters using funny voices. It is about being silly and checking if Grandpa is awake behind those sunglasses by changing a word to something CRAZY to see what happens. If you read “It was a hot day and the DOG was shining in the sky” and he doesn’t notice, it’s time to get a nice full water balloon to help Grandpa get his focus back!
Research tells us…
There is a direct link between the enjoyment of reading and reading performance over time, and the benefits go beyond the educational system into ‘most areas of adult life’ (PISA 2011).
When purely reading for pleasure:
- Let the child choose the reading material and always be able to see the pictures.
- Ensure your reading time is positive, brief and ends on a high note.
- Pause at the end of sentences to allow for the child to ‘chime in’.
- Model ‘mistakes’ and allow the child to correct you, or point out your mistake, the fact we all make them, and that they are a part of learning.
- Consider your child’s interests when choosing new books, and talk to friends and classmates about they are reading.
Set your child up for success by giving him a thorough book introduction before he attempts to read an unfamiliar book. Ask her to talk her way through the pictures prior to reading the book, give her the characters’ names and point out any unusual vocabulary she may run into. Because you are reading purely for pleasure (and not instruction) simply fill in the unknown words, or reread the sentence with the first part of the unknown word on the tip of your tongue. Odds are, smarty-pants will know exactly what makes sense, sounds right and looks right, and pop that word in with pride!
(More to come…)