By The Secret Teacher

Inspired by Barnaby Bear from Norfolk House School and Saul from Harborne Library

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller. There are many important reasons why you should be encouraging your child to read every day.  Essentially, reading underpins everything your child does.  Being a confident reader enables your child to learn new things and explore new ideas.  Reading books increases your child’s knowledge and enables her to grow mentally, emotionally and psychologically.  Reading gives you the benefit of understanding things that others have already discovered.

” I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.”Roald Dahl. If a child sees her parents reading, she will be more likely to want to learn to read.  If a house is full of accessible books, it will become normal to pick one up and read it.  Giving books as presents makes them special and treasured.

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice “without pictures or conversation?” This is the advantage books have over TV or films.  Your child has the opportunity to imagine details from what she has read.  Although we are told very little about Alice, already your child will have a picture of what she looks like, how she is dressed and her surroundings.  Can she describe to you what is in her mind?  Can she transfer these thoughts to her own writing?

The house was three miles from the station, but before the dusty hired fly had rattled along for five minutes the children began to put their heads out of the carriage window and to say, ‘Aren’t we nearly there? Reading regularly can improve your child’s focus and concentration.  Today, much of what is aimed at children is in short soundbites designed to catch their attention, but not necessarily intended to keep their focus for more than a few seconds.  Computer games, with bright colours, music and sound effects, all have devices included to ensure players stay with them.  Reading takes more effort, but ultimately is far more rewarding.

Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmond, and Lucy. Reading can help improve your child’s memory.  Even when reading first books there is much they need to remember as part of the story.  Characters will have names and distinguishing features.  They will visit places and events will happen that impact on the story.  Your child will need to retain facts in order to make sense of the plot as it unfolds.  The ability to retain information will improve as your child reads more books.  This ability to remember and reuse information will also transfer to your child’s everyday life, making her memory better the more she reads.

Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. Reading is an opportunity to learn new things.  The more your child reads, the more she will find out about different people, how they behave, and different places and cultures.  Learning about these things will make your child understand and appreciate the differences and similarities of the diverse community they are part of.  She will be able to understand and share feelings of others.  Books connect the reader with the characters and the plot.  Your child will become part of the book and will feel what the characters are supposed to feel.

If, standing alone on the back doorstep, Tom allowed himself to weep tears, they were tears of anger. Reading will help your child relax their mind.  This is because when she is lost in a book her mind is focussed on reading and distracts them from the real world.  Even before COVID, your child will have had plenty of everyday stresses to contend with.  Reading will help her relax and sleep better.

The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play, so we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day. I sat there with Sally. We sat here we two and we said ‘How we wish we had something to do.’ You child can enjoy books whatever the weather and wherever she is.  Reading brings joy and happiness into our lives.  We do not have to rely on someone else or for events to go our way.  If your child enjoys reading books, she will never be lonely or bored. 

Most motorcars are conglomerations (this is a long word for bundles) of steel and wire and rubber and plastic, and electricity and oil and gasoline and water, and the toffee papers you pushed down the crack in the back seat last Sunday. Reading varied texts will ultimately introduce your child to a wider vocabulary.  Reading dialogue will help to improve her command of language.  Sentence formation will become more accurate and your child will have a wealth of words and phrases to use when speaking.  Inevitable, her communication skills will automatically improve.

Once upon a time there lived… ‘A king!’ my little readers will say immediately. No, children, you are mistaken. Once upon a time there was a piece of wood. The best time to start reading is now.  Listen to your child read and also read to them.  Why not find a book for yourself to read to help inspire your child?  I hope you enjoy your new adventures!