A recent report by the Social Market Foundation has discovered that children perform better in tests when they’ve had a routine of reading at home with a parent/carer.

The report found that young people who had not been read to before the age of five scored lower in reasoning tests. In response, the foundation have recommended after-school ‘family literacy’ classes in primary schools to encourage reading.

The suggestion has come under criticism from the General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, who feels parents may feel ‘patronised.’ Instead, he suggests encouraging the habit of reading at home. Schools would also need to factor in costs and funding with any after-school provision.

In recent years, reading time in school has increased in order to fill the gap left from the lack of engagement at home -sometimes from being unable to access books in the first place. Barton suggests that this only ‘reinforced the idea it was alien’ to the children.

The same report also found that attendance at parent’s evenings increased students’ verbal reasoning scores.

Reading is a great tool to build vocabulary banks, develop understanding of sentence structures, fluency, plot structures and best of all, inspire creativity and imagination.

With the summer fast approaching, there’s ample opportunity to get young people reading. Here are our top tips:

  • Take it in turns; you read a chapter, your child reads one.
  • Make it routine. 15 minutes before bed; 30 minutes at the weekend.
  • Try books to films. Read books that have been turned into popular films. The film is the reward; popcorn included!
  • Implement reward systems. Is there something they really want? For every book, they get a token towards their goal.
  • Tackle different genres. Perhaps they haven’t yet found what they like to read.
  • Find a series. If you find an interest, they’ve got more to keep them going.
  • Involve the pets. Read to the dog – some schools have been known to take young children to kennels to practice their reading.
  • Try comic strips and move onto text heavier books slowly.
  • Create a family book club. All choose a book, or recommend your favourite. Arrange a family treat at the end.
  • Read a magazine of interest together; fishing, biking, baking.
  • Discover new stories in the paper together.
  • Marvel at the Guinness World Records.
  • Have a male role model. It’s great for boys to share reading with their brothers, dad, uncle or grandad for instance.
  • Use picture books to encourage children to tell their own story.
  • Get involved with the Summer Reading Challenge https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/

Do you have any tips for supporting reading at home?

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Jemma, is our Resource and Development leader here at Athona and is also a qualified teacher. During Jemma’s teaching career, she held the responsibility of Teaching and Learning Leader for key stage 3 English and was a mentor to a number of trainee teachers. Jemma spends her time regularly writing topical and latest industry blog posts and is the main point of contact for our international candidates. More recently, Jemma has been coordinating the training we provide to our teachers and schools.