This is a pet peeve of mine. It might disintegrate in to a rant.
A couple of days back I was skimming though Twitter and found an interesting article shared by love2read @love2read4kids
It's this one from The Telegraph "30 minutes of reading a day can help children improve reading age by two years".
The gist of it is that kids who had more time spent with them reading one-on-one had improved reading and writing skills after an certain amount of time and that schools & parents should do more to read to and with kids.
As little as 10 minutes a day is supposed to help. It's well worth a read.
It's not the first time I've come across this. A while back (Feb 2012) breakfast TV Daybreak ran a campaign to get parents reading to their kids 10 minutes a day called "Get Britain Reading". And this is where I started to get wound up last year..... the number of people interviewed who said "I haven't got time to read with my kids!"
HAVEN'T GOT THE TIME?!?!
Normally I am not a judgemental person, and if I do find myself in a position where I am judging someone I keep it to my self. But this just wound me up too much. Seriously.... you can't give your kids 10 minutes of your day? 600 seconds of your life once a day?
"Ohh but I have so many kids and so much to do!"
I've got 3 kids and a job and a house to run too. I read to my kids every day. On their own and together. And so does my husband. So what if the pots don't get done until after they go to bed? Facebook CAN wait 10 more minutes..........! (calm down)
So how do we do it?
Books from school for Jack and from nursery for Tom. Treat them like homework that HAS to be done! Set a time in your daily routine to sit and read with each of them, it's good practice for when they are older and have real homework from school too. For us it's between dinner and bed time. Jack can read on his own now so I'll ask him to sit and read his book to himself quietly while I read to Tom. Once I've read to Tom I ask Jack to read to me. Sometimes Tom asks if he can listen too and if it's OK with Jack we let him. It's a great way to keep them calm in the last part of the day too when they get over tired and giddy.
No school...? During the holidays we visit the local library and treat books from there the same way.
Bedtime. Isn't this the MOST OBVIOUS time and place for getting those 10 minutes in? Even if your day is so busy that sitting down with your kids seems impossible, you still have to put them to bed, right? Make sure they've been to the loo, washed, brushed their teeth? A good bedtime story is an excellent thing. We frequently get through 2-3 stories a night. George is still a bit young to appreciate them, but to Jack & Tom it is the highlight of bedtime. Even Baby George get included in the bedtime stories - never too young for books!
YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THE 10 MINUTES ALL IN ONE GO!
Struggle to get your kid to sit still for that long? Younger kids especially can get tired of being sat for that long, so do a few short books 2-3 times a day. Surely everyone can find 3 minutes while the kettle boils for a cuppa!
Does it work?
YES! I think it does. Jack is reading books at school targeted at 8 year old kids, and he's only 5. Tom has been able to write his name clearly since before his 2nd birthday and at just turned 3 last month is starting to recognise whole words. He's already fed up of books targeted at his age and wants to be read books for kids Jack's age. He commits is favourite ones to memory!
I'm not trying to turn this post into a "look how smart my kids are" type post. But I do believe that all the time we have spent as a family reading books (myself, my hubby, my mum and other relatives, and now Jack himself as he reads to his brothers) with our kids has given them an advantage. They come across as clever to their teachers because they spend time with us learning about the things in their books, learning new words, finding things to ask questions about. It's natural for kids to soak up everything around them... surround them with books and they'll absorb knowledge and language skills through stories and adventure.
I wrote this post to vent, but in researching I came across these links which will help anyone who enjoys reading with their kids, and anyone who wants to get more involved.