While reading the Sunday paper I saw a voucher to get 10% of a new book. It is part on an initiative to get more parents reading to their children.
Whilst that is a really great gesture, my question to the paper and the government was “So What?” Literacy in young children will not improve just because they are given a book.
If you walk into our house you will see books from one end of the house to the other. Some in the toilet (to encourage toilet training), others in her room. Recipes books have been stacked in the kitchen and we even have a couple of special books in the spare bedroom that only pop can read when he comes to stay. Our house it littered with books.
Most of my daughter, Dusty’s, books are …well…dusty. The majority are mine from 30 years ago or others I have found at garage sales. We have some new books, but not many. You see, I would rather have a multitude of old books then a handful of new ones. In the past year (as Dusty moved from board books to real pages) those books have been dunked in the toilet, eaten, covered in dirt and slept on. But they have also been loved and cherished.
By the way, you are fair game in my house. Walk in and expect to be given a book to read. Actually, prepare to read many books. Or, what is even more likely is you will read the same book 5 times.
As a teacher it has been an interesting observation watching other people read aloud to Dusty. As a teacher, we learn specific skills such as changing voice, using pauses, asking questions. But most would not know these. My husband even commented that he thought children’s books were boring because they were so repetitive. He didn’t realise that repetition was important and necessary. Mem Fox, the must have author of children’s books has Ten Read Aloud Commandments
. Her tips are less about books or the mechanics of reading, and more about loving and connecting with your children.
I think the newspaper missed the point. Parents don’t need 10% off a book. They need simple tips on how to make books and reading an everyday part of children’s life. Parents need to litter their house with books, and make time to be together and enjoy each other’s company while reading.
Ainslie Hunter is a proud mum of a spirited toddler, teacher of children with Learning Disabilities and Special Needs and blogger. When not hanging out on Parentella you will find her giving the very best study tips and tricks over at Study Skills Mentor
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Tags: reading skills, reading to children