Thursday, September 5, 2013

Growing better readers

Welcome back to the new school year! It's so nice to see everyone back at school, refreshed and ready for another year of learning.

I was intrigued to learn recently that having parents who love to read not only sends the message that reading is a valuable activity, it also correlates with measurably better reading scores! You already know that reading with your child will help, but simply doing your own pleasure reading around your child will also have a positive impact.

According to a 2012 publication from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development entitled Let's Read Them a Story! The Parent Factor in Education:

"In all countries and economies assessed, the children whose parents do not think reading is a waste of time or who spend more time reading at home for enjoyment have significantly higher scores in reading. [some] countries, children whose parents spend time reading for enjoyment at home score more than 30 points – the equivalent of nearly a full school year – higher in reading than children whose parents do not."

The remarkable thing is that this difference persists within a single social class: "even when families of similar socio-economic backgrounds are considered, there is still a strong link between parents’ habits and attitudes towards reading and student reading performance. That means that the relationship is not dependent on the socio-economic background of the family."

Other findings, such as that "in all countries and economies surveyed, children whose parents consider reading a hobby, enjoy going to the library or bookstore, and spend time reading for enjoyment at home are more likely to enjoy reading themselves," were less surprising since children often enjoy the activities they're raised around, whether that means sports, board games, cooking, hiking or reading.
According to OECD, it doesn't matter what you read; it doesn't have to be long novels if that's not your thing (just like not all children enjoy fiction - many gravitate towards how-to books, joke books, comics or other choices). What matters is taking the time to read for pleasure, to go to bookstores and libraries, to talk about what you read, and to give your child the time and space to do the same.

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