When are parents going to learn that ten year olds, who have never read a book for pleasure in their lives, will not be transformed into readers by buying them nice new books?
Parents – PLEASE – you have to take charge! Reading habits begin in early childhood when you look at books together, talk about the pictures and enjoy the stories. If you don’t do this, how do you expect a ten year old to suddenly become an interested reader? It just doesn’t happen.
I hear this over and over again. “I’ve bought him all these lovely books and he never opens one of them!”
Well try this – sit down with him and READ TOGETHER. You read a bit, he reads a bit. You get to the end of a chapter – or even the end of a page – and you talk about it.
“Hey, I enjoyed that, did you?”
“Why do you think Mr Fox did that?”
“What do you think Farmer Boggis will do now?”
“Which bit did you enjoy the best?”
“Who’s your favourite character?”
“Why do you like him best?”
“What do you think happens in the next chapter?”
Also, read stories TO them, just as you would do when they were a four year old. Read stories that are just a little bit too hard for them to read for themselves. Put on voices for the characters. Put expression in when you are reading and generally make the world of literature SO exciting that they can’t wait for the next night when you read a bit more (always stop at the exciting bit!).
This is how you create readers, NOT by buying them loads of books, placing them neatly on a shelf and expecting the child to work his way through them!