The importance of reading

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Students who frequently read are proven to be higher achievers than those who do not. Children learn an average of 4,000 to 12,000 new words per year as a direct result of reading. Research has shown that a child who reads one million words per year will be in the top 2 percent of all children on standardized reading tests. The benefits of reading are apparent.Educators have many tools and resources available to promote reading in school. But how can they ensure a love for reading continues beyond the classroom? This e-newsletter offers helpful tips teachers can share with parents in an effort to support their children’s reading habits at home. Keep reading to find out more.

How parents can support their children’s reading habits at home

A love for reading is important at all ages. Here are some helpful, age-appropriate suggestions educators can pass on to parents to keep kids reading.

Elementary school

  • Choose books that pique interest: Build confidence and a love for reading by allowing children to select books they are interested in. Parents and teachers alike can help by creating “preview stacks” of library books that match whatever piques a child’s interest at the time. Remember not to get too picky about what is being read, rather focus on fostering an interest in books. If a child is fascinated with trucks and wants nothing but books on diggers, backhoes and excavators, that’s okay—make those readily available.
  • Create a reading journal: A journal is a great way to promote discussion and reflection about stories and books. Send reading journals home and encourage parents, together with their child, to draw and write about favourite books, characters and themes. Journals are also a great place to write down words and concepts a child doesn’t understand for further discussion.
  • Get digital: Often parents try to limit screen time in an effort to get kids actively reading. Let parents know there are many online tools that exist solely to further reading skills. Scholastic, for example, offers online book and game apps that promote reading. Starfall is another online tool that teaches children to read with phonics. There are countless others that you can share. Print your favourites on a mousepad or notepad to provide parents with these helpful resources.

Middle school, high school and beyond

  • Promote series books: Even students who love to read often struggle maintain their drive to continue once they finish a beloved book. Series books may provide a boost that can help continue the momentum. They also may help to build confidence and increase comprehension since the background knowledge is there and the writing style is familiar. Teachers can arm parents with this knowledge and recommend several age-appropriate series by imprinting them on a carabiner library card holder or book tote as a reminder on the next trip to the library.
  • Encourage a student’s inner critic: Getting young adults to read, especially when they haven’t found a book they enjoy yet can be a struggle. Parents and teachers who are challenged with these striving readers can encourage children to channel their inner book critic and put their passion in writing. Provide parents with a list of local booksellers or online retailers where youth can publish their own book reviews. Imprint these on a Magnetic Bookmark or Notebook Band-It to serve the dual purpose of directing students to review sites and to purchase books.
  • Tie in the big screen: Many of today’s hit movies are born from a book—think “Harry Potter,” “The Hunger Games” and “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Encourage young adults to read a book before it hits the big screen or to choose a book based on a previously enjoyed movie. Who knows, students may even enjoy the extra details they get from the book. Educators, send an email to parents with this helpful tip and be sure to alert them when a great book hits the theatres.
  • Peer-to-peer referrals: Educators can help the parents of college students encourage lifelong reading habits, too. According to a survey of more than 700 college students, 93 percent enjoy recreational reading. However, 77 percent say they don’t have time due to the amount of academic reading required. One thing that may help is to make recreational books more accessible. As the holiday season approaches, consider compiling a peer-generated list of top reads for college students. Poll your student body for their favourites and encourage participation with a draw for free e-readers and e-reader cases. Include a free download of the number one book as an extra reward. Send the complete list to parents as holiday gift suggestions.

A lifelong love for reading is perhaps one of the greatest gifts we can pass on to today’s youth. Make sure this gift is offered both at school and at home by trying some of these helpful tips. Happy reading!

Facts About Kids and Reading.” (n.d.): n. pag. Web. Retrieved 25 Sept. 2014.

Miller, Donalyn. “Five Teaching Tips for Helping Students Become ‘Wild Readers’” Education Week Teacher. N.p., 26 Mar. 2014. Web. Retrieved 30 July 2014.

Kashner, Zoë. “Raise A Reader: A Parent Guide to Reading for Ages 6-7.” Scholastic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 30 July 2014.

17 Ways to Keep Your Middle Schooler Turning the Pages.” Scholastic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 30 July 2014.

Lytle, Ryan. “Reading Isn’t Dead for College Students.” US News. U.S.News & World Report, 15 Dec. 2011. Web. Retrieved 19 Aug. 2014.

 


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