This week, I thought I would reflect on the importance of reading, why we should encourage children to read and the importance of being read to.
Reading helps children to recognise letters and then they learn how to blend these letters together, to make a word. There is, however, so much more to reading than just these mechanics.
We first need our children to be able to read, then progress to writing and finally to the tricky part – spelling. The ability to read is to unlock a whole world of understanding is a fundamental skill, yet, as with all skills, it requires a lot of hard work and perseverance. To help a young child understand and decipher the information written in text and, finally have the ability to understand the meaning of the written word, takes time, lots of support and patience.
At SVPS, developing the children’s reading ability is an integral part of our education system and, in Pre-Prep, it is one of the first foundations we try to secure. Research has found that children who are introduced to reading at an early age tend to be more creative and eloquent, generally having a greater command of the language they are exposed to in daily life. Being introduced to reading doesn’t necessarily mean that we need our children to be fluent readers – it is simply exposure to the written word, such as being read to, as often as possible.
In Pre-Prep, the staff really enjoy storytime at the end of the School day. It is a time where we all come together, pick up the class book and have some quality time together. Storytelling is quite an art – the ability to read a new story well can sometimes take a few attempts – and the most popular books are often stories that we, as adults, know nearly off by heart. It allows us to have different voices for the characters, which helps children to start to understand patterns of speech. It also allows children to conjure up images in their minds as to what these characters might look like. As Pre-Prep teachers, we often think of this storytime as a performance. I hope I have inspired some of our parents and carers to have a look on the bookshelf to find a book that you might have enjoyed when you were a child as these are often the best!
With (say it quietly) Christmas fast approaching, and perhaps some lists being written over the next few weeks, I hope we will find that a few books have been popped into Father Christmas’ sleigh; perhaps not only a book for the children to read for themselves but maybe some books that families can read together. One of my favourites is A Dark, Dark Tale by Ruth Brown and I know that most of the children are likely to have heard Mr Watkins’ rendition of The Giant Jam Sandwich at some point.
We love it when the children come and tell us about a great book that they have been reading. We will continue to share many more recommendations in the weeks to come!
Miss McCarmick, Head of Pre-Prep