Archive for the ‘Literacy’ Category

Get your children reading for pleasure today.

September 19, 2012

Our children learn to read at school, but while they’re learning the mechanics of reading we, as parents, need to be continually encouraging them to read books for pleasure. Even as they are learning to read in Y1 and Y2 , we need to be finding them easy to read books that will reinforce what they have learnt on the reading scheme at school but much  more importantly persuade them that reading a good book is fun. There are lots of great books out there that children can enjoy reading, such as those from the Usborne First Reading scheme. These books have very little text in the simpler books, but have a large font that children like and lots of lovely full colur illustrations. They cover many different subjects, but I find that children of this age particularly like the fairy stories in the series. As the publishers themselves say, these books are “irresistible for children learning to read.”

When reading for pleasure, children need to read books at a much simpler level than they would on the reading scheme at school, to ensure that they can read alone and not necessarily need adult help.They will be much more likely to enjoy a book that is simple to read than one that they struggle their way through.This lays the groundwork for them to become keen readers in the future.As they move on through the primary school years parents can really help their children  by finding lots of books for their children to read for pleasure. The children that read for pleasure usually find it easier to do well at school generally. Continuing to read stories to your child  helps as well.

We have now launched our programme to get reluctant readers reading. If you have a child (aged between 7 and 11) who does not enjoy reading for pleasure, we can help you to set them on the path to reading.  If you’d like to see what one of the Mums who has tried this scheme has to say you can read all about her experiences at Sarah’s blog.

Picture by Mike Babcock  at Flickr

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Our recent reading study

September 18, 2012

The results of our recent reading study looking at how to get children reading for pleasure, have far exceeded our expectations (and, it seems, those of the children’s parents!). You may remember that we wanted to see whether the simple step by step programme we had designed, could get children who were reluctant readers, to read for pleasure . The second aim was to refine the programme by testing which strategies worked best with children.

Many parents and teachers end up tearing their hair out because they have a child who “doesn’t like books”. They try every type of book, on all sorts of subjects from animals to horse riding and football to dinosaurs in space. Nothing works! “This child clearly does not like books- they’d rather be out playing football or watching TV.” is what we frequently hear from parents. After months and sometimes even years of trying, you can understand why both parents and teachers feel this way. However, we challenge this view very strongly. Our findings have been that it is rarely because they don’t like books (how many children don’t like having a book read to them?) it is because the ones they are being given are too difficult, even if they are books designed for children of their age. Sure, they can often read most of the words, but a book needs to be at a considerably lower reading level than the child can actually read, to ensure that they understand the story and that it isn’t hard work. How many adults enjoy a book that is hard work when they’re reading for pleasure?

In addition, a book needs to be a really good one. In these days of copious reviews, for everything from washing machines to hotels and, of course books, it is indeed a brave person who will choose to buy a book that only has a 2* rating. That is why every book that we used on our study was one that had been previously recommended by children as being a really good 5* story.

Here are some of the comments made by parents whose chidren took part in the reading study. Most were 7 or 8 years old, but the final review comes from the mother of a 10 year old girl who is severely dyslexic.

“I would like to thank you so much for the help you gave James.  He has progressed in such a short time from a boy who wouldn’t read even small stories to himself , to one who is now enjoying reading children’s chapter books on his own. He has always enjoyed Maths, and now I can see his love of reading developing too.  This will only increase as he experiences more and more of what the children’s book world has to offer!  His favourites are Dirty Bertie and Secret Seven!  On the journey you set him, he definitely enjoyed the Greek myths!  Thank you so much once again.

” I can’t praise your reading scheme enough. My 8 year old daughter who found reading an uphill battle now wants to read and look up the meaning of words in the dictionary. She even has the confidence to read out loud in front of her friends. By going back one step, her reading ability has jumped three steps forward. Many thanks for your time and advice. A happy mum.”

From the mother of a severely dyslexic 10 year old. When she started the programme, she was not reading at all to herself. She stayed on the programme for a few weeks longer than the 6 weeks (2 months in all) because we could see she was about to launch into books in a big way.

“Louise is on her 3rd Jake Cake book; she loves them! She is on book 6 of the library reading challenge- I can’t believe it!”

For any of our blog followers wishing to try our programme for themselves, please see click on the following link which gives details of how you and your child can take part. The programme is suitable for children aged between 7 and 11 who have a minimum reading age of 6 years 6 months.

Why wait? Get your reluctant reader reading today.

Great series for teenagers

June 30, 2010

If you are looking for something gripping for your teenager to read, my son has just discovered the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. The first book came out last year and has been quickly followed by the second, with the third due for publication in August. The series has a whopping 87 reviews on Amazon, 65 of which are at 5 stars.

I gave my 13 year old the first book last night and couldn’t prise it out of his hands at bedtime. He kept making excuses to read just a bit more every time sleep was mentioned. Think I’ll leave him to it tonight!