I love writing books because I get to create worlds where anything is possible. I believe it's so important to escape into books and let our imagination fly. This gives us the time and space to explore the world in new ways and learn about our place in it.
Of course, there are just so many other benefits of reading as well. There is no question that reading makes people smarter and more confident learners, thereby helping students perform better in school. When I ask students what are the benefits of reading, they tell me reading helps them to survive, and gives them increased: mental stimulation, knowledge, vocabulary, memory, concentration, writing skills, and empathy.
The terrible reality, however, is that many children (63% in fact) are infrequent readers, meaning that they will only read, on average, 17 books per year, as opposed to frequent readers who will read 45.6 books per year read. The difference is staggering and it's very concerning that so many children are missing out on the many benefits of reading.
I have created a model with three simple steps that can increase the number of books a child will read, which leads to more enjoyment of reading and an increased love and connection with books.
1. Recognising our Role as Parent
The most important and foundation first step is for parents to fully recognise their role in helping their child. Parents need to understand that once their child can read, their job is not over. It has simply changed, and will not finish until their child is an adult.
2. Improve Reading Skills
There are direct relationships between reading skills, reading enjoyment and the number of books a child reads. Every child will benefit from improving their reading skills. Our job as parents is to put the time aside and read with them, and create the time for them to read - most days, every week, every year until they are grown up. 86% of children, across all ages, love reading books aloud with their parents at home because they see it as a special time to spend with their parents.
3. Reading for Enjoyment
It is critical that parents find their child books that they love and that are appropriate to their reading level. 58% of children (aged 6 - 17) say reading books for fun is extremely important, and 91% of frequent readers are currently reading at least one book for fun. It doesn't matter what books your child enjoys, as long as both parent and child understand what types of books they enjoy and what their child's reading level is. And, whilst parents need to supply the books, children like the power to choose. 90% of children say their favourite books are the ones they have chosen for themselves.
I will often blog about these issues, providing practical advice and tips for parents to help support them as they support their children on their reading journey. If you would like to sign up to receive these blog posts, please enter your email to the left of this message.
Thanks for dropping by, and remember, most children - of all ages - love reading books aloud with their parents, because they see it as a special time. As parents we will never get this time back again, so treasure the snuggles on the couch with your child, as much as they do.