Reading with your son

Reading is one of the greatest practical tools in life. It stimulates the brain, enhances knowledge, improves communication, creativity and problem-solving skills, which in turn builds confidence.

From the first day our boys enter into Prep, reading is a focal point for us. Each day begins with the Reading Hierarchy. It facilitates blending, segmenting and tracking words, learning sight words, breaking words into syllables, reading fluency and understanding what you are reading.

In recent years media attention has spoken of declining literacy skills for Australian students, and in particular boys. We are bucking the trend with a relentless focus on developing a strong foundation in literacy skills for all our boys. Reading is an essential skill that is central to the development of literacy skills.

Whilst we as parents often read aloud with our children in the early years as part of our nightly routines, which is of great benefit, it is something we often stop doing and are happy to see our children become independent enough to do it on their own. I have been certainly guilty of this, but it is perhaps a habit we should hold onto and cherish for a while longer.

Reading with your son, even when he is entering into his Secondary schooling, has many benefits for you both. Reading with him regularly sends the message that reading is worthwhile. Studies into reading motivation suggest that knowing the people they admire value reading and read regularly is one of the greatest reading motivators for young people.

Boys who enjoy reading will want to read, so positive reading-together experiences promote this. In effect, you are advertising reading by exposing your child to great stories and informative texts. Reading aloud enables access to a greater range stories and information. Boys can be read texts that are of interest to them but beyond their reading level, which stretches their understanding and motivates them to improve their skills.

We can also model to our boys that reading can help us to relax and bring us pleasure during our leisure time. Being read to also develops comprehension, especially when supported with follow up discussion. It builds vocabulary and provides a model for fluent reading. The breadth of our vocabulary has a significant impact on learning success. Studies suggest that students with expanded vocabulary knowledge learn more, remember more and are more interested in what they are learning. We further develop the vocabulary of our boys through our Daily Writing Warm-Ups.

Finally, choosing a book at random has its place, but carefully selected texts, where some thought has gone into the discussion you will have with your son about the content and text, are enormously valuable. Not only can the text target specific subjects you wish to expose him to, but a productive discussion will also help to develop the characteristics of an effective reader. As teachers, we do this right through your son’s school years.

With your help, your son can begin or further establish a positive relationship with reading and grow into an adult who reads readily and frequently.

Have fun reading together.

Ben Gates
Head of Junior School