Updated: Sep 1
Reading for pleasure is undoubtedly one of the most important activities a child can do. It makes a big difference to children’s level of education in all subjects. It increases comprehension skills, problem solving, enhanced vocabulary, spelling, levels of empathy and has shown to increase understanding of human behaviour.
Research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2002) showed that reading for enjoyment is more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status. And according to Krashen (1993), “When children read for pleasure, when they get “hooked on books”, they acquire, involuntarily and without conscious effort, nearly all of the so-called “language skills” many people are so concerned about: they will become adequate readers, acquire a large vocabulary, develop the ability to understand and use complex grammatical constructions, develop a good writing style, and become good (but not necessarily perfect) spellers”
What can I do as a parent to support reading for pleasure?
Actually, even if you are not a devoted reader yourself, there are loads of things you can do to support your child in their own reading journey.
Read to them rather than asking them to read on their own.
Your own involvement in your child’s reading journey is crucial to them. Not only does it help remove the boredom of the task, it also helps create a “special time”, or a moment of closeness between you and your child. Reading a story supports question and answer activities, discussion about characters, and even helps the child immerse themselves in the story line, rather than reading the tricky words themselves.
Surround them with opportunities to read
Reading doesn’t just have to be a before bed activity. Ask them to help you with recipes, instructions, even sign posts. Introduce them to vocabulary such as “explain” or “what does this word mean?” Immersing them in a world where every word has meaning, rather than just books, is really important for acquisition skills.
Children copy. That’s a fact. Simply, if your children see you doing something, they will want to do it too. So get to it! Open your books, and have fun.