Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to see my Junior High students reading. One, and I will admit a great added bonus, is the peace and quiet in the classroom when students are doing S.S.R. (sustained silent reading). Two, books are the great gateways to new worlds and foster imagination and creative thinking. Three, there is the added benefit of improved spelling scores. It is said that “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”. I totally agree.
I am “old school” when it comes to teaching. I admit that. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing the sound of pages turning in a quiet classroom. Yes, there are few that read on their electronic devices, but for the most part, my students are immersed in their paperback novels and it’s a lovely sight! I also quiz my students in vocabulary and spelling words. Since September I am pleased to say my students have improved dramatically in spelling. Yay! I know it’s not common practice to teach spelling in Junior High, but as I’ve already stated, I’m “old school”.
One of my students is such an avid reader, I have to force her to put down a book long enough to hear directions in class. She has read thousands of books in her young lifetime. I am impressed.
Studies have shown, that students who read, seem to also excel in writing, spelling, as well as many of the other subject areas in school. I have a big banner at the front of my classroom: “Turn the pages of your imagination: READ!” My students know how important I think reading is.
So here are a few hints to parents to foster the love of reading in their child. If you have a few tips please feel free to add them in comments.
1. Start early. I mean, start reading books to your children when they are toddlers. Bedtime stories are great times to read together.
2. When you are doing everyday activities with your preschooler read signs, back of breakfast cereal boxes, anything and everything that has print that can also become a teachable moment with your child. It will help them learn their alphabet letters and help them to understand that we read all the time.
3. Buy lots of books for your child. I know computer literacy is BIG right now, but I’m still a big advocate on buying paper or board books, so children turn pages and look at illustrations from a book NOT a T.V. or computer/tablet screen.
4. To foster reading in your child, model that behaviour. Read books yourself. Turn off the T.V. and immerse yourself in a good book. Your child will take note!
5. For older children and teens…read the books they read. I have never been a censor of books per se. I generally read the books that are popular BEFORE the kids read them, so I tend to immerse myself in what they are interested in. That said, there are books I absolutely refuse to read because of their sexually explicit content or profane language or they have a definitively negative or immoral message that goes against God’s Word. My kids know which books are “banned” in the household, and it’s a teachable moment to share why those books do not need to be read by them or by me.
6. Lastly, if you want your children to read their Bible, make sure you model reading in YOUR Bible. Just sayin’ !