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Choosing to read ….. A Gift for Christmas

David Kirkham
David Kirkham (21 posts) Former Principal, NAIS Manila View Profile

Current research highlights the evidence showing why reading – including reading out loud – must be at the heart of the curriculum in the primary years. Children who enjoy reading tend to read more frequently than those who don't and they are better at it. There's nothing unexpected in that statement and nothing to disagree with. We can always find exceptions but, yes, it's a virtuous circle. 


Reading is generally accepted to be “a good thing”, and each time a child chooses to curl up with a book, they are practising and improving their reading skills. The national curriculum in England is explicit in saying: “All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.” (DfE, 2014)

At NAIS Manila we put reading at the heart of our curriculum and in every classroom. David Kirkham, Principal

In Early Years children learn about books through the stories that their teachers read to them. In early primary classes, creating opportunities for reading aloud, fulfils the vital task of exposing children to books that they are, as yet, unable to read independently. It is important that the books they hear should be those that they would not otherwise come across or that they could not read themselves, that give them a flavour of the world of books that lies ahead of them. 

Sometimes it can be tempting to choose the “easy win” books – few children dislike Roald Dahl's creations, this was evident during our World Book Day. But the most effective approach will be to read books that will expand children's horizons – stories that they aspire to read but can't yet or non-fiction books providing information that builds on what they already know rather than just reinforcing existing knowledge. 

To engage those children who say that they didn't like reading and rarely read outside school, perhaps teachers and parents can share their favourite story or a fascinating information book to show them what they're missing, particularly if they're not going to pick up a book voluntarily. The importance of teachers and parents encouraging this passion for reading should not be overestimated. 

If you are struggling to find the right Christmas present for your child - buy a good book this year.