A note on the importance of reading

Two hugely interesting news stories came out this week, both of which related to reading levels and literacy.

The first was the excellent news that schools in England have clinched a top ten spot in the global ranking in reading tests across 50 countries. An amazing and much deserved moment of recognition for our hard-working students.

The second was news from the National Literacy Trust that children who own books are more than 15 times more likely to read above the expected level for their age. Why are these so important? Research shows that learning to read is one of the most important factors in school success and have found strong links between literacy, school performance, self-esteem and life chances; poor literacy skills have been linked with lower education, earnings, health and social outcomes*. As parents who want to support their children to live their best possible life and enjoy maximum opportunities, taking heed of these facts is crucial. So what can you do to create a passion and natural enthusiasm in your child for reading?

Lead by example! If your child sees that you enjoy reading and find it a pleasurable pass-time they are likely to follow suit – particularly from a young age. If you’ve never been one to pick a book up, now is a great time to start. The worst thing you could do, however, is see it as a chore. Great reading means finding a book that suits you – your interests, your style and written in a way that you can and will enjoy. If this isn’t happening you’ve got the wrong book in your hand! There are so many choices available that wasting time plodding through something you just don’t enjoy is crazy! This is a key point to keep in mind when encouraging your child to read… if they aren’t enjoying it, they will form negative associations with reading. Help them find something that will really get them interested and desperate to turn that next page. You know you’ve got it sorted when they ask to go to bed a bit earlier so they can read before they have to go to sleep (this was one of the best stories I had passed to me from one mum recently whose child, until then, had not been too keen. They found the right book and hey presto, a keen and much-improved reader-writer emerged!).

*Research courtesy of: http://www.better-beginnings.com.au/research/research-about-literacy-and-reading