Week 1: Introduction
This week we begin our new term 4 series, Creating a reader! It’s intended as a light guide, offering parents and teachers of young children some tried and true tips along with some fun new ideas to hook our kids into reading.
Goal: develop a love for reading
My focus is all about making the reading experience fun and easy - something children simply can’t get enough of. One of the best spin-offs from having a positive attitude to books and reading is that it makes ‘learning how to read’ much easier, but this series is not about ‘how to read’ or ‘instructional reading’; it’s about enjoyment!
I’ll include a little research, and for those of you wanting to explore ideas more fully, there’ll be links to relevant sections of this website.
Meet our young ‘reader’ – five year old Tessa!
Tessa has just started school. Like most five-year-olds she’s full of curiosity, mischief and fun.
She enjoys hearing books read aloud and looking through books, but what she loves most of all is playing with her friends, baking biscuits and any opportunity to use her parents iPod.
I’m Tessa’s mum. I’m also a librarian and I know how very important reading is as a precursor for success. “However, it is not enough just to learn to read – one of the strongest indicators of positive engagement in school and learning was the enjoyment of reading.” Rivers, J., Wylie, C. et al. (2006). Growing independence: a summary of key findings from the Competent Learners at 14 Project, p.25
Like all parents, I want the best for my child. It is my utmost wish that Tessa will grow to love reading and become a life-long reader.
Simply wishing won’t cut it though. As a parent I need to be actively involved in my child’s reading, so here’s my plan of action for term 4.
Join us as we follow Tessa’s progress over the term as she tries some of the wonderful new picture books in the National Library collection. As well each week I'll also review her top title. Perhaps the students in your class or your child will find the book as equally appealing.
Over the course of the term we’ll also be putting some of the expert tips and strategies about ‘Creating readers’ found in the National Library’s website into practice. You may like to try these out with your children too.
Tip 1: Books, books, books and more books!
According to literacy expert and author, Mem Fox, “Children who come from homes filled with books are more likely to succeed at school than children who don’t” , Fox, M. Reading magic: How your child can learn to read before school –and other read-aloud miracles, 2005
One of the best ways to develop a love for reading is to share plenty of relevant and fun books with children. Saturate your home and classroom with books. This part sounds obvious but it can be difficult knowing what books to choose and where to get them.
There are all sorts of possibilities for both teachers and parents to get more books into homes. Here are some examples from the National Library’s website:
- Get to know your local children’s librarian really well.
- Try swapping books with other children or parents.
- Ask about the school library’s options for borrowing additional resources, such as read-aloud picture books for bedtime reading
To increase the amount of books in our home I will get a selection of ‘New Book’ titles each week from the National Library collection (approx 10 titles). These will be shelved in Tessa’s room and together we’ll select a new book to read aloud each night, and then each week the book Tessa finds the most enjoyable will be review.
To ensure the bedtime reading experience is as easy for Tessa as possible there will be no ‘work’ on her part. We’ll have fun chatting about the books but I wont be asking deep questions or try to analyse books in any way. If however she does have questions or wants to follow up any aspect then I’ll go with them enthusiastically. The idea is for her to relax and simply enjoy the story.