I’ve said it before. Reading rates amongst children and young people aged 8 to 18 are in decline. Stubbornly so.
If you’re a parent of an Alpha-Gen child (meaning under 12 – Primary aged in 2022), particularly between the ages of 8-11, less and less children – possibly yours – are reading for pleasure year-on-year. And that’s a problem. For their life chances, for society.
As a parent, it’s up to you to get your child reading. Not their teachers.
You see, a parent is (usually) the first person to introduce their child to books, reading together, sharing bedtime stories in order to settle your child to sleep (still the best way, imho).
But after they’ve started school and have an increased independence with their reading, the parent can have a tendency to step back other than checking their child’s bookbag or reading record.
Question – Have you stepped back from reading with your child?
Consider why that might be…
Do they just prefer to read on their own?
Are they on gadgets and not reading at all?
Do they not enjoy reading like they perhaps once used to do?
They’re growing up – they should read by themselves, shouldn’t they?
I don’t have time to read with them like I did when they were little.
They do read. Just not as much.
They’re exhausted from too much homework.
Does any of that sound familiar? It’s not an exhaustive list. If you have other answers or questions, please drop a comment. I’d be interested to know.
Question – Why should I get my child reading again? Especially, if they don’t want to.
Really? No, really?
It will negatively impact their life chances if they aren’t readers and have good reading habits. Fact.*
Children with little or no reading habits, often because they struggle to read and so turn away from books due to the emotional impact it has upon them are “at risk” (a term used in the Education system) and more likely to struggle as they continue through their education and then enter the working world.
You, the parent
In order to move the dial on this, it really has to be you, the parent who steps in and steps up.
Easier said than done, Jane.
And that’s exactly why I want to help with this.
This week, I’ll be doing mini-blogs and reels/stories on my FB page and my TikTok page all about reading habits and how you can get started supporting your child or children to develop a reading habit.
And it starts with yours…
Indulge me. Grab a notepad and pencil or make a voice note of your answers to these questions.
- Did you read as a child?
- Did you read regularly as a child?
- Do you still read now?
- Would you class yourself as a reader? (Someone who has a consistent reading habit)
- Is your home a book-friendly place?
- Does/do your child(ren) see you read regularly?
- Would you say you have a reading habit?
- Do you discuss books with your child?
- Do you visit libraries and bookshops on a regular basis?
- Do you class your child as a ‘reader’?
- What was a childhood favourite of yours?
Did your answers surprise you?
You see with any habit, good or bad, we need to understand why the habit formed, why the habit stopped or changed. Why the habit continues and what is beneficial or detrimental to us?
Tomorrow, I’ll ask you to engage with your answers to help you help your child form reading habits through encouragement and, quite simply, making it fun!
The steps will be practical and, I hope, impactful for you.
Got a question about reading with your child? Drop me a comment below.
Data taken from readingfoundation.org and The Literacy Trust