From a young age, I have always loved reading. I was fortunate enough to be raised in a household where books and reading were valued and I still remember, with great fondness, my weekly trips to the local library to choose my next book. Recent research evidence on reading for pleasure suggests that children whose home experiences promote reading as a source of entertainment are more likely to become intrinsically motivated to read (DfE 2012). This has proved, undoubtedly, true for me and I am extremely thankful to both my parents and past teachers for fostering my love of reading.
Over the past few years technology has taken over our society and, like everything, has it’s pros and cons. Technology is vital in today’s world and I often find myself wondering what on earth people did before Google? However, as a nation, we are becoming overwhelmed by the sheer amount of technological choice out there, causing us to become addicted to our screens. This is particularly true for our children, especially under-10’s, who are going to use more digital technology than any generation gone before. The children in my current class are unbelievably tech-savvy, able to describe in detail every ‘app’ imaginable. It is a depressing, yet true, fact that children are spending more time watching Netflix, playing FarmVille and building houses on Minecraft than they are reading books.
Through my own love of literature, I have been able to inspire many of the children I’ve taught to read for pleasure. It is important to show children that reading a book can be just as fun as playing a video game and, as adults, it is our responsibility to encourage by example. In order to affect reading behaviour, children have to go beyond simply choosing a book. They must choose to read that book over any other available activity, and in today’s world that is quite a feat!
So, the question remains – how can I encourage my child to read? There are an endless number of ways to foster a love of reading and, over the next few posts, I hope to share some of these with you. But for today I will leave you with this one tip; switch off. Switch off your computers, your phones, your televisions, your games consoles. Switch off technology and switch on time to spend together as a family. Play a board game, bake some cakes. Grab every cushion, blanket and fairy light you own and make a den. Snuggled up inside with a teddy bear, a torch and a good book you may just discover that reading with your child really is one of the most relaxing and rewarding things you can do.