Headteacher's blog: Why enjoyment in reading helps children to thrive

Lisa Brown recentEverything today is available 24/7; from information at our fingertips, to online shopping and takeaway delivery. In a world of so much instant gratification, the stamina for reading intricate and challenging stories that unfold gradually and draw you in, is waning. We need to find ways to encourage our children to immerse themselves in quality story-telling, where time and effort is invested to reap the benefits. As adult readers, I am sure there are books you had to persevere with and were glad that you did. I recall being in a supermarket queue buying ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’, I was advised by another shopper to stick with it until page 100. I’m glad I did!

We all know that reading is a key lifeskill. It can also be an emotional crutch, and teaches us about growing up, our emotions and is therefore a support for personal wellbeing. Reading for pleasure takes you into another world, giving you a break from the pressures and reality around you. There is nothing better than letting yourself be drawn into an imaginary world where you live with the characters, feel their emotions and can’t wait to read on. Author Cressida Cowell, currently Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate, points out that enjoying books, not just reading them, is vital for academic success, mental health and even later economic success. So, please read with your children, read yourselves too and enjoy the wonderful world of literature out there.

From the very start, children who enjoy sharing books daily with their parents, even as babies, develop warm relationships and gain positive attention. They are exposed to a wide vocabulary and associate reading with a good feeling. Reading within the home is just as important as in school, so what can parents do to help?

They can join and support local libraries, borrowing books and attending story sessions with their children. Another top tip is ‘model reading’ - sitting alongside your children, reading your own book and talking about the story you are reading. If it is the usual thing to do in your house, your children will see it as normal. Older juniors often don’t want to read with their parents, seeing themselves as too old. However, reading with your children into their teens and beyond has enormous value. Listening to two sides of a page before leaving your child to read independently is a good compromise. Alternatively, reading the same book at the same time or afterwards can lead to interesting discussions about inference and plot development. 

Despite very busy schedules, we should always find time for books; books that challenge but others just for the fun of it! Good books are infectious, so get out there and catch the bug!

To find out more about life in Redmaids' High Junior School join us for an open event.

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Date Posted: 28 November, 2019

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