The Number One Strategy for Parents
Firstly, a huge congratulations and well done to all our families out there who are finding their way through the new challenges we are all facing at the moment. We are just getting started this round, but all of us are all too aware of how difficult it can be for families to have to constantly share workspaces, technology and recreational time, all the time. Whilst as adults it can be tough to manage our emotions and to find the space to think clearly when so many demands are being made on our time in such a close space, it can be even tougher sometimes for children and siblings who are learning these skills as we go.
So, in this new landscape of family life, what is the best thing I can do to support my child’s literacy development?
Regular Reading Time
On top of the vast benefits of reading in general for all school age groups, family reading routines offer a great opportunity at the moment to build a habit that is not only proven to support literacy development more than any other initiative, but also creates space, relaxes people and gives us something to talk about outside of the immediate demands of day to day confined living.
- Set reading time at a regular time each day (after dinner, after lunch or before bed for example). Be choosy about this, and make sure it is a time that works for you.
- For reluctant readers, bribe, buy magazines in their interest areas, shop for books they might be interested in together (most reluctant readers can form a habit of reading in just eight days) and don’t force them to read things that they aren’t interested in. They must choose and then be able to choose again. If they say, but I hate reading, remind them that they don’t like all television shows, they just need to find the right one.
- Turn off all technology during reading time (shut down the internet, phones off, computers off).
- Twenty minutes is a good length to get started.
- If it’s a nice day, read outside. Make sure everyone has a nice space to read – a comfy chair, or a quiet spot.
- Get started by visiting many of the online book retailers – many deliver in less than a week. Most libraries in Kingston offer an e-library that can be accessed very quickly. All Mordialloc students have access to a Mordialloc e-library as well.
- Research has shown that if a parent reads with their child for just ten minutes a day, either reading out loud themselves or taking it in turns, comprehension and literacy development can improve incredibly quickly.
- Let everyone read in their own space if need be, but showing them that you are reading as well encourages your children to see it as something beneficial. You can read anything that interests you, and be sure to discuss it later if you get the chance.
- Reading is so important, that if they need to start with comics and magazines, let them. If they want to read the same book again and again at first, why not? The only thing to avoid if possible, is reading on a screen. At this time they need a break from a screen, and research shows that screen reading is less effective at building literacy skills. However, if there is no option, reading on a screen is far better than no reading at all.
- And finally, try to discuss what everyone has been reading. Reading is ultimately a social exercise that is about sharing ideas, so doing that verbally afterwards not only brings the family closer, but reinforces the intrinsic value of reading and being curious about knowledge.
If you set up a reading routine for the first time during this round of remote learning, we would like to hear from you – the challenges you had and what worked. Even if you have one already, we would be keen to hear about it.
Tell us about your experiences by clicking on this link: https://forms.gle/8jN2DLgDnc8mmog69