Let Us Read
There is nothing I love more than curling up on my couch with a good book and a decent cup of coffee. Books and reading have been part of my daily routine for as long as I can remember. Through books, I have met wonderful people, travelled to distant lands and embarked on many adventures. J. K Rowling aptly said: “Wherever I am, if I’ve got a book with me, I have a place I can go and be happy…”. This has certainly been true in my life especially during the last year when we have all spent so much time at home.
The benefits of reading have been well documented over decades of research. There are strong links between reading and academic success and much of our school curriculum is based on reading. But academics aside, there are also many other reasons to read. Reading has been shown to reduce stress, improve your vocabulary, stimulate the brain, and improve your intelligence. However, as an English teacher, the lament I hear over and over again is, “I cannot get my child to read!” or “My child hates reading.” B F Skinner said: “We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. Knowing the contents of a few works of literature is a trivial achievement. Being inclined to go on reading is a great achievement.” So, the question is how can we encourage our children to read and grow in them a love for all things literary.
I believe that one of most important ways that we can encourage our children to read is to make it a part of our daily routines. Reading and a love for books often starts with a parent reading to their child from infancy – long before they are able to read for themselves. Pouring over picture books, looking at the pictures and talking about the stories is vital in any child’s development and it creates precious moments between parent and child. All too often, as children grow older, we get busy and reading time is lost, but older children can also benefit from sitting with a parent and reading. Alternating reading aloud pages with your child will allow them to practice a vital skill and have good reading modeled. I have a colleague who would get her children to read on the way to school every morning – what a great use of time.
Another way to encourage your child to read is to allow them to read about their passions. If they love football, find books, magazines, news articles about football and take the time to discuss what has been read. I am a firm believer that all reading is good reading so start with your child’s interests.
We need to expose our children to a wide variety of reading material and I know that this can be very expensive. During lockdown, I discovered that the Johannesburg library has gone online and they have a wide variety of books for all ages that can be downloaded and read on any device. This is a great way of providing your child with reading material almost no cost.
As load shedding plagues our country and we are encouraged to stay at home more than usual, why not take this opportunity to slow down, turn off the television, put our phones away and enjoy a good book. After all most children will emulate what they see their parents doing so when is the last time you picked up a book?
Grade 7 Educator
Miss Philip has been teaching Grade 7 at Knights for 15 years. She holds a Bachelor of Primary Education and an Advanced Diploma in Remedial Education. She is passionate about learning and learners and loves guiding her Grade 7s through their final year of Prep School.