World Book Day – Helping Our Children Read

Happy #WorldBookDay! You all know how much I adore reading and I’ve worked hard to instill this in my children. A switch flickered on with my girls when they were little and I started reading Harry Potter to them. They were so engaged and wanted to read it themselves… and it gave them a love for books they still have today!

The sad thing is since the rise in sales and usage of phones and tablets the reading age has dropped.  More kids of school age now are unable to construct sentences as kids could 10/15 year ago.  Reading is more of a chore than a joy.

Use of punctuation is diminishing, and the art of handwriting sentences and stories just doesn’t have the same impact and isn’t as important.   Children who can’t read in accordance with their age today can’t possibly make effective leaders for the future.  Perhaps the answer is to put the phone down and sit with your kids and read a book word by word!

Kids are reading less. Why?

Screens vs. Paper

Stay with me here… I’m going to contradict myself… sort of.

Good reading behaviour has nothing to do with technology.

Kindles, tablets, and laptops all provide access to books. This actually increases the ability to get and read books.

According to Forbes,

A report from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center released earlier this year explains that “a majority of children ages 2 to 10 have access to a device for electronic reading: 55% have a multipurpose tablet in the home, and 29% have a dedicated e-reader (62% have access to at least one of these devices). Among children with one of these devices in the home, half (49%) engage in electronic reading, either on their own or with their parent (30% of all children).”

Books matter; how kids read them doesn’t.

A big breakdown in your child’s willingness to read is about the parents. It’s easier to blame technology but when parents don’t read or spend time reading with/to them no matter what their age… the child is not going to know how important reading is to their future.

Too many distractions

So we KNOW that kids are capable of reading books on their devices so why don’t they?

The distractions! Whether it’s YouTube calling in the background or their favourite game that they just HAVE to play. There is too much freedom to get distracted on the internet. If your kids like reading digitally, a Kindle Paperwhite is a good choice. The ONLY thing it’s made for is reading so there’s no way to hop to another screen when you’re not looking.

Other annoyances, like too much noise in the room, can also keep your child from reading.

Reading as a punishment

“You didn’t read so you don’t get screen time.”

“I’ll give you screen time if you read.”

Punishing and bribing are negative. And if you make reading a chore or linked to negative behaviour… that’s exactly what it will be – a negative chore until you can do the thing you really want.

Parents not reading.

Our children watch everything you do. They emulate you (when you’re not looking). They NEED to see you reading on a regular basis. What a great excuse to read… am I right?

Time constraints.

How many activities occupy your child’s time? I know personally of some kids who are so over-scheduled that they get home at 10 pm every night and don’t have time to do anything else! It’s really important that our young ones have time to decompress and YES… read!

It’s up to US, as parents, to help our children READ.

“But I haven’t got time” I hear you say.  I know it’s difficult but fact is our kids need to be able to read to get through life.  There are many social skills our kids require, but reading – in my opinion – should be very high at the top of the list.   Maybe parents reading with kids will also help to keep parent/child relationships intact, and kids will find connecting with their parents a more positive experience than looking for fun elsewhere!!

Perhaps it’s time to get back to reading with our children the old-fashioned way?  No tablet, no phone, but actually turning the TV off, sitting down with a book and literally pointing at each word until our kids get it in their minds?

What do YOU think about our children’s lack of reading? Are there ways you have helped your kids to read that we can learn from? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this on Facebook  Twitter and Instagram.

Let’s talk about it!