My Child Can Read, So Should I Still Read To Them?

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Subject: Reading
Last updated: 24/10/2017
Tags: activities, fun, language, reading, role model

At numerous parents evenings I have heard the famous statement - "I don't read to my child anymore because they can read for themselves," and my heart has sunk!

All too often this is the result of the pressures of modern life and can't be easily avoided. My response is usually a shock to them when they hear how the continuation of this much loved and very special time can significantly enhance the development of their child's language ability and enjoyment. If time is really against you then get in the habit of allowing them to listen to stories read by older siblings, listen to audio books and utilising willing grandparents and other adult visitors. 

So what are the reasons for continuing to read to a child who can read fluently for themselves?

1) It is a perfect example of giving them unconditional love time - not just time to do work which needs to be completed as homework or to help them improve but as an enjoyable sharing activity. Don't worry if this can't be every night - just do what you can when you can and do it with love.

2) It allows for the development of vocabulary, discussion of meanings, exploration of language and consolidation of understanding.

3) Reading is very personal, you always add a bit of yourself to the characters - something special that without you your child just would not receive. Everyone loves a silly voice!

4) Reading to or sharing reading with children right up to KS3 (and even beyond) means you know the content of what they are reading - allowing for further discussion and an understanding of what they have been soaking up!

5) You are an excellent role model to your developing child of a real reader. You may miss words out, make mistakes or have to stop and self correct - they need to see you doing this.

6) Reading individual words fluently even with some meaning is not a guarantee that they understand the meaning of what they are reading  - deduction and inference need to be talked about, not taken for granted that they are functioning with the comprehension ability of an adult. They are often good at fooling us!

7) Shared reading allows for further learning and play opportunities to become relevant - maths and science activities, art, craft and outdoor games can all be found in the pages of the fantastic literature available - by missing out the sharing process you run the risk of missing out on identifying these (ideas below).

8) Sock puppets, dressing up, letter writing, baking cakes for the hero, setting up a shop suitable for the setting, finding countries on maps, making costumes for the characters, trying out the sincere in stories (mixing potions and margin winding windmills) are just the tip of the activity iceberg - go on, have some fun with your little learner (learning should be fun, the brain will attach the joy to the learning and remember it more clearly).

9) Don't limit yourself to fiction - non fiction texts, comics, brochures, leaflets and recipes can all be valuable reading material - I'm sure you can add more to this list.

10) How wonderful to share the precious gift of story time with your child - irreplaceable!

Sharon Miccoli Key Stage 1 English Tutor (Bournemouth)

About The Author

A passionate advocate of supporting children in a safe, successful and flexible environment, I personalise learning to develop confidence, ensuring children achieve personal success and develop as self-motivated, resilient and independent learners.

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