The Importance of Reading
I was reminded of the importance we play as parents and carers in helping our children to read and learn when we welcomed the new Prep students for 2018, with their parents and carers, to the school this week. It was an exciting time to see all these wonderful young people having their first experience together before they start school next year.
The Australian Literacy Educators’ Association provides us with the following helpful advice about helping young people with their reading and learning.
Reading and Learning
Reading should be seen as a means by which children learn about the world around them. Children’s literature offers rich opportunities for parents and carers to chat with their children during and after a story as they meet new animals, travel to strange lands, or learn about the physical world of plants, rocks, weather, shapes, colours, sounds and more. While the story or factual book will offer many spontaneous opportunities for learning, parents can also direct their child’s attention to specific content.
- Look at a picture and encourage your child to tell you what the picture or story may be about.
- When your child completes a drawing, painting or a model, you can ask questions like: ‘What do you want to tell me about this? How can we write it down?’
- If you cook with your child, it can become a reading and learning activity. When following a written recipe, you and your child can try to read the instructions.
- Your child can try to read the instructions for toys and games and may recognise some words in the instructions. Ask your child questions about the instructions.
- Let your child discover that words are everywhere, not just in books. Words in the environment include ‘Danger’, ‘Stop’, ‘Exit’, ‘Ladies’, ‘Gentlemen’, ‘Bus Stop’, ‘Walk’, ‘Don’t Walk’ and so on.
- Let your child discover words in the supermarket. Look at words on the labels together. Let your child recognise the words, or you can point out the words on packets or foods, toiletries and other household goods on display
- Allow your child to read communications such as names and addresses on envelopes, letters and greetings cards from Australia and overseas, also texts and emails from friends and relatives (with your permission, of course).
- Help your child write a letter or an invitation to grandparents or friends.
- It is a good idea to talk to your child about selected suitable pictures in a newspaper, magazine and non-fiction book, or selected suitable stories in the newspaper or magazine.