This quote was written by Alan Johnson in March 2007 when he was announcing the National Year of Reading. Alan Johnson is the Education Secretary in the department for children, schools and families.
Us teachers are dis-empowered and the positive effect that we can have on a child’s academic performance is limited when children are not helped at home. This academic performance can also boost a child’s self confidence. It has an impact on how they fit in, how they are perceived, how successful they feel etc.
Teachers are viewed in many ways. I myself, teach to improve children’s life chances so that they have a better choice when they grow up. More choices, in my eyes equals to more doors and less frustration.
So how important is reading to you? When do you need to read? When you are driving and reading signs. When you eat out. When you get post. When you receive emails. When you need to read a text. When you need to fill out a form. When you go shopping. I cannot begin to list all the areas of life where reading is vital.
Please empower your children. Your family members. And don’t stop there. If you’re an adult and you need to improve your reading skills. Go for it! Go on a course or seek help from others. I’m sure you’ll find it so helpful. 🙂
A final word
“One of the most important things a parents can do to boost the educational chances to their children is to read to them. Simple, yes – but in a busy world it doesn’t happen enough.
Thirty percent of parents don’t read regularly with their young children – a vital but missed opportunity to boost their child’s development.
We watch an average of four hours of television a day. If we read to our children for just a tenth of this every day, we’d give their chances a massive boost.”
– Alan Johnson, March 07, announcing the National Year of Reading
Children reading letters
Reading and completing a form
Sawan · July 5, 2008 at 3:39 pm
You’re definetely right. Reading is a very important part in a child’s development. And this is not only in their educational development but also developing the relationship they hold with their parents and their peers.
If a parent reads to their child at night before they go to bed, it creates a greater relationship as it is spending quality time with them and entering into a story world with them.
If the child is left to watch something like “Teletubbies” on their own, then, although they say there’s a great deal of education in there, it is nothing compared to what effect a parent can have.
I say between the ages of 0 – 6, throw the TV away for the kid. Concentrate more on stories and art and music.
One final point. Playing classical music such as Beethoven, Bach or Tchaikovsky (did I spell that right?) to an unborn child will produce a calmer, more creative child after birth.
How about classical radio for kids with the visual aids produced by the parents in real time? Something to think about…
Heena Modi · July 7, 2008 at 9:13 am
Wow Sawan! Thanks for this!
It’s so good to hear someone else echo what I’m thinking.
Yes…reading is important for all the reasons above and as you say, to maintain relationships. Sending and reading postcards, letters, invites etc.
Of course, this spills over into different languages too and for those of us who are bi or multi lingual. We should try and read in all the languages right?
Anyway thanks for your comments. Keep em coming! 🙂
Suraj Dinesh Shah · July 16, 2008 at 8:14 am
Although this conversation is taking a tangent towards “reading to” rather than “reading with” children, I thought I’d mention that our friend James Dakin is doing something really magical.
He has set up an organisation that encourages the creation of stories for parents to read to their kids, or teachers to read to their pupils.
The stories tap into the three main submodalities to make them appealing to the visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners.
From the Teaching Freedom website: “Creative Visualisations (CVs) are stories that enable children to experience and embody the key learning points of any lesson by bringing learning to life. They capture and stimulate the imagination of their audience and are great fun.”
A wonderful tool to enable parents to spend quality time reading to their children.
For more details on Teaching Freedom and video clips demonstrating Creative Visualisations, visit http://www.teachingfreedom.com
Heena Modi · July 16, 2008 at 5:02 pm
Thanks for your reply. I am aware of James’ work and yes, there definitely is a need for children to read with AND to adults.
It’s such a shame that adults seem more and more busy. Although everything else continues. Career, having children, purchasing more etc. It’s just the children and their opportunity to develop which is often put to the side. 🙁
Sandra · May 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm
Reading is also important for all other subjects. You might be able to do the maths but if you can’t read the maths question…. – that used to happen (I don’t know now) at infant school.
Reading becomes more & more important as now, more & more, everything is lead by signs (not very well explained!) but as a Basic Skills teacher I always notice when, how to proceed somewhere, (eg A&E in a hospital) you need to be able to read the instructions and there’s no one to ask.
And, as you say children need to be read to from a young age – firstly to learn how a book ‘works’ and also to engender a love of story to give a motivation to read stories. I think reading non-fiction isn’t enough! People who don’t read fiction are missing so much!
Heena Modi · May 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm
I agree completely!
I often tell the children that reading is really important because it’s everywhere. I give examples such as: –
– they need to know where the bus is going before they get on it. This means they need to be able to read the destination.
– they need to be able to read signs when they are travelling somewhere.
– if they go out to eat, they need to be able to read the menu.
Hopefully it resonates enough to make them want to read! : )
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