This week there have been articles in the press about children not having access to books, children having no books at home and having no help at home to learn to read. I have been so disheartened about this news…but I knew it already. One of the first things as a parent we must do is read to our children. I started when my daughters were first born. I read to them and they saw me read. That way they learned that books were a very important part of every day life. Reading is a fundemental skill and we can do very little without being able to read. In London today 1 in 3 children do not own a book and yet 85% own games consoles. 1 in 6 adults is functionally illiterate. To be illiterate must be one of the most challenging things to be. How can you read a label, find out what’s on TV, find the time of your train? This is something that must be talked about now…well it is 2011 and with all the wonderful aids to learning that are out there how can this still be happening?
Reading with a child is a very special time. Going to a book shop to choose a book is so exciting. Sharing a magazine even just looking at the pictures and reading the captions really helps. Browsing through a picture book and talking about what they see and guessing what might happen next are all ideas to help children learning to read. This time when children need our help to learn to read lasts such a short time because once they start to read independently they no longer need out help. We then can look back and see that we really have made a difference and given our children a skill that will grow and develop and stay with them through their lives. It only takes ten minutes a day. What else would we do with that ten minutes? Put our feet up…well you can read with your child with your feet up they won’t mind!