Juggling work and the school holidays has thrown me and I haven’t kept up to my usual Friday Fiction post. Apologies for that.
What I did want to get around to writing about though, was an article I read in the Times about getting children to read. This article struck a cord with me because it talked about how children are initially so enthusiastic when they first learn to read, but this enthusiasm can drop off as they progress through school.
The author said that reading can become like any other aspect of school work and hence be seen as a chore, or something that children feel forced in to doing. I have certainly experienced this with all three of my children, which is why I could relate to this article so much.
I struggled to get my eldest to read at all because she didn’t like the school reading books. She enjoyed being read to, but that was about it and because she found reading difficult, she rebelled against doing it. My middle daughter didn’t struggle to learn to read, but she wasn’t inspired by the reading scheme books either and this seems to have dampened her enthusiasm for reading altogether. Being forced to read books she doesn’t enjoy hasn’t helped encourage her love of reading at all.
My son had no problems learning to read. In fact, I was amazed at how quickly he picked it up; almost intuitively. He’s not an enthusiastic reader though. At the age of 6, going on 7, I’m struggling once again to get him interested in books. However, as it said in the article, getting your child to read can mean them reading anything. I agree, it doesn’t matter if your child won’t read the school reading scheme books, as long as you can find something that interests them and nurtures a love and understanding of the written word.
It talked about electronics, like tablets and e-books, as a way of engaging reluctant readers. Our young ones are growing up in a technological world and they are at ease with all things electronic. I decided to put this theory to the test and downloaded some reading apps for my son. They’re about a bunch of robots that fight crime in the ‘wired west’ and I thought these type of stories would appeal to him.
I was right. He devoured them and even though they include some difficult words, this hasn’t put him off at all. Such was his inspiration that he couldn’t wait to tell his dad (when he came home from work) what happened in the story, word for word almost. That’s comprehension too. Double tick.
So I know the teacher’s won’t be happy about me putting down the reading scheme system, but finding other reading mediums really does have it’s merits. For my youngest, it’s in electronic form. For my eldest, who incidentally is now a complete out and out bookworm, it took me reading the classics and favourites of my youth for her to understanding how inspiring stories could be. I’m doing the same thing with both my younger two, as I think reading to them is still so important, even though they can read on their own.
Middle daughter hasn’t got the bug yet, but I’m hoping it will come. She’s at that funny age (8 going on 9), where some books still feel a little too long. I can’t fault her for trying though. She’s studious enough to stick at it and as long as I continue to expose her to as many different authors as I can, she will at some point find her thing.
Have you had these experiences when your own children were learning to read?
Can you remember a time when you were younger and felt the same way?