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Why is reading so important?

Posted on 15 September 2020
Why is reading so important?

Principal Brian Schumacher places a strong emphasis on literacy in the Junior Years

Reading is an Essential Life Skill

Reading is one of the most important skills we can teach our boys. Research shows it is a predictor of future success, and outcomes for living are increased by learning to read fluently. Reading is not a natural skill like talking. It is a skill that needs to be learnt and practised in order to become fluent. We choose to read for pleasure or relaxation, to travel to other worlds and places or to find information and research. It is a life skill that underpins learning.

Learning to read is like learning to play football or learning to swim or to drive a car. Even though we can be taught the fundamental skills, unless it is regularly practised, then reading does not become fluent and embedded. That is why learning to read is something that requires partnership between families and teachers in order to develop the fluency and skills together. Without frequent practise, our boys are at risk of not being able to read with fluency and understanding.

At Rostrevor we teach our boys several strategies when learning the skill of reading. The first key area is oral language which is talking, listening, repeating, rhyming, singing and playing with words. We also use a sequential way of explicitly teaching letters and sounds.

We use decodable readers as the boys first books to provide successful attempts at reading with known sounds and letters. We share stories both through reading and orally. We introduce more words and discuss these books and we have the boys write letters, then words and then sentences and stories. However, we need our boys to be practising these skills frequently and that requires work at home.

Some strategies to help your son read at home:

  • Set aside some uninterrupted time to read aloud with your son.
     
  • Read to your son in your first language - research shows that using your first language will help your son when he learns to read English.
     
  • Listen to your son read every day, even if only for a short time.
     
  • Talk about books together - make reading a shared, enjoyable activity.
     
  • Discuss the meanings of stories and words.
     
  • Model reading and let them see you share the joy of reading. It is great for our boys to see their parents/caregivers reading - especially dads/male role models. 
     
  • Ensure there is a range of reading material for your son at home, both fiction and nonfiction.
     
  • Give books as treats and presents.
     
  • It is recommended that you continue to read together in the later primary years, even if your son is reading independently.
     
  • Take your son to the local library often so he can choose, borrow and renew books. Taking your son to the library at the beginning of school holidays encourages weeks of independent reading.
     
  • Encourage your son to read non-fiction. The newspaper or an online encyclopedia might be a good start, but your son might also be interested in history books or autobiographies of their favourite sportsperson or celebrity.

At school, the teachers do many of these things as well because they know modelling these skills is as important as teaching them. At home, boys need to see that reading is important to you, just as important as football or swimming or learning to ride a bike or drive. Although we all have different aptitudes and interests for reading, it remains an essential life-skill, even if you don't consider yourself or your son 'academic'. At Rostrevor we believe that reading more is the top tip for making everything in school easier and for success - even in high level mathematics. 

Author: Rostrevor College
Tags: Junior Years Popular Articles
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