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Reading for Pleasure these Holidays

From Literacy Coordinator, Gemma Brown

According to a report conducted by Scholastic for YouGov, 75 percent of parents with kids aged 6-17 wish their child would do more things that did not involve screen time. Fortunately, the humble book is making a comeback.

Reading increases vocabulary, fluency and creativity by modelling correct sentence structure, punctuation and grammar. This translates into an increase in students‚ inferential comprehension, writing and reading confidence. The best part is that it can do so by stealth with books that children find fun to read. Nearly three-quarters of kids aged 6-17 (74%) responded to the Scholastic study that they would read more if they could find more books that they like.

A study conducted in the UK for the Institute of Education by Dr Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown found that a child’s cognitive development between 10-16 years of age was positively influenced by reading for pleasure more so than their parents‚ level of education. This was quantified as a 14.4% advantage in vocabulary, a 9.9% advantage in maths and an 8.6% advantage in spelling.

“It may seem surprising that reading for pleasure would help to improve children’s maths scores,” said Dr Sullivan in an interview with the BBC. “But it is likely that strong reading ability will enable children to absorb and understand new information and affect their attainment in all subjects.”

Pleasure reading is self-prescribed, therefore it is vital children are able to access books of interest to encourage consistent reading behaviour. Parents, teachers, and librarians need to support students to assist them in finding styles that suit the individual child until they have developed the passion and self-motivation to read regularly.

In addition to having an interesting book on hand, it’s important to make time for reading. The DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) time strategy is a solution parents and schools can adopt to help children take some time out of the chaotic technology-driven day to relax and read. In this period, students can control the time and the text they are reading, which encourages them to develop a consistent reading habit. Even better if they see you reading at the same time!

Holiday time is a fantastic time to pick up a book. Some public libraries run Summer Reading Challenges and our wonderful Waverley College Library has a wide range of e-Books and audiobooks for students to access over the summer holidays.

These school holidays start an adventure with your kids by taking them to a library or bookstore, there is a book for every age and every interest, even you.