The Beauty of Reading & How to Cultivate the Habit in Children
In an ever-growing technological world and because of COVID19 our children are now using devices more than ever. It is becoming more and more difficult to peel them from their screens as online learning has meant that they now have an excuse to be on them. As a result, it has been much harder to engage them in the beauty of reading. At Sunmarke and through discussions with the students we have tried to come up with ways to encourage students to understand the importance and benefits of reading.
Who best to ask than teenagers themselves? One student explained the importance of allowing your child to be bored with their own thoughts. Self-care, especially as our teenagers enter the KS4 and KS5 and the pressures of exams, mean it is much more difficult to practice self-care because we are so busy with studying, work and everyday life. But what we mean by boredom is that we teach children to be alone with their thoughts without the use of technology, and then this will lead them to find other methods to keep themselves occupied. It’s about having ‘managed’ screen time as opposed to taking it from them altogether. It’s not about forcing your child to read so they resent it, it’s about finding a ground where they are able to establish it for themselves. She also recommended the #bookhero. This is a coffee house on Umm Sequiem road, where whilst having a coffee, you can browse the library. Whist kinokuniya offers an array of fantastic book choices, often this can be overwhelming for a child. Taking them to small places to establish their likes and interests may be a good way to start.
Another student commented that the use of challenges had helped her to enjoy reading and meant she was able to look at different types of books. She explained that her and her father would set each other a challenge and she then started having challenges wither friends too. I have attached some links below of examples they can set themselves. To further this, you could encourage a reward at the end. This does not have to be monetary but can be something as simple as heading to the cinema together? Letting them have friends over? A movie night at home as a family?
A further thing is understanding and finding educational online platforms. Technology does not have to all be bad. There are many programmes and videos we watched that are educations. TEDed for example is a fantastic platform that allows students to learn through listening and watching. They also have a programme called tutor2u which help them with. This is not just for English studies but also for other subjects too.
Let’s not forget the go to ways we can support reading. Ask them questions, what do you like about the book? Why do you think the character feels that way? These kinds of questions not only mean you are checking your childs understanding of what they are reading, but shows you are interested. Despite. We also encourage the use of a kindles to allow a bigger range of choice of books, audio books for those who struggle with concentrating when reading, Tonie boxes for our younger students. Make it relatable to our children, get them to read autobiographies by their favourite sports man or woman, a singer they like or simply read a newspaper together.
Whatever you try, you must understand that every child is different. Not every method will work with every child, but what we want you to take away is that the key is perseverance. In order to cultivate the habit of reading, it is all trial and error and you need to find the methods that are going to work for you and your child.