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Don’t Stop Reading with your Children

Of the myriad pieces of advice parents get about raising their children, here's one that deserves to be at the top of the list: don't stop reading to your children. Even when they can do it themselves.

  • Don

Here at BIS we are currently enjoying Book Week, a celebration of the written word, the chance to escape to another world through the writing of others.

When interviewing famous people such as sports starts, musicians and actors, a question often asked is: What do you do in your down time or with time off? The answer that features most is reading.

Reading for pleasure is always cited as one of the top answers to this question. If we asked all adults this question I am sure we would get a large majority saying the same thing. Giving children the skills to be able to read is hugely important so amongst all the advice that parents get about raising their children, here's one that deserves to be at the top of the list: don't stop reading to your children. Even when they can do it themselves.

The British National Literacy Trust surveyed 1,000 children aged seven to eleven, they found 50% of eight and nine year olds were rarely or never read to at home. Just 30% of ten year olds spent time reading books with an adult.

When children begin to read by themselves, normally between the ages of six and eight, they enter what researchers have defined their comprehension gap years. A lot of children have such depth of comprehension when listening, but their skill for sounding out words impedes them and stops the flow of comprehension when they are left on their own. They should certainly read on their own, but they should also be read to. Between the ages of six to thirteen, adults have an opportunity to inspire children to grasp texts out of their reach. 

Our top tips to keep children interested in reading throughout primary school include exposing them to a variety of books, taking it in turns to read, ensuring the child understand new words and discussing the characters and plot.

Research from The British National Literacy Trust also found pupils are more likely to read above the expected level for their age if they enjoy books for pleasure. A spokeswoman for the trust said: ‘Parents are really important reading role models and our research shows that children’s attitudes to reading improve the more they see their parents read, so we’d encourage all parents to make time for enjoying a good book themselves.’

Dee Grimshaw, Deputy Head Teacher at An Phu Primary

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