Last week Australian schools celebrated book week, where various activities are run to celebrate the joy of reading books.
Most parents would know it’s Book Week when they are suddenly called upon to creatively (and often stressfully) conjure up a costume for their child’s book parade and book character dress-up.
Another activity, that perhaps won’t be as tough for parents is the popular DEAR or Drop Everything and Read. At an allocated time, all staff and students put lessons on hold and simultaneously embrace some precious time to read a book.
This year, my selection was The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams, and with a class of Grade 1 boys, we found a comfortable space, and read purely for enjoyment.
Research shows that to become an expert reader depends on the willingness to read independently. Thus, we have a responsibility as teachers and parents to provide opportunities to engage children in independent reading experiences. However, motivating children to read for pleasure can be challenging. One strategy is to practice reading aloud.
Time for reading aloud to children sends a powerful message that it is valued and can be a shared enjoyable experience.
I have many fond memories of my father reading to my sisters, brother and me. Together we would go to the local library, select a book, and then huddle together each night, delving into a world of imagination as Dad brought the words to life with his soothing tones.
So, if you enjoy books and reading, make sure to model your love for books and nurture a positive reading environment.
Recommend books that will expand your children’s knowledge – maybe a book you read at their age; mix it up and expose them to fiction and non-fiction. Make sure you prioritise reading as part of the everyday ritual – not just as homework.
Joanne Davies is Teaching and Learning Coordinator for the Junior School at Brighton Grammar, an all-boys school in Melbourne This article is about Parenting
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