Recipe for Exceptional Reading
Reading increases vocabulary and builds critical thinking skills.
By Rebecca Little, Lower Elementary Principal,
and Debbie Breyman,Assistant to Elementary Principals
As we have worn many educational hats over the past 30 years – mother, room parent, school board member, teacher, and principal – we have heard the importance of reading being discussed and dissected many times. From a Christian perspective, having the ability to read is imperative and significant, because that is how God ultimately communicates with His people through the Bible, His written word. That reason alone should be compelling enough to motivate us as parents and educators to plant seeds in our young children that will promote a desire and a love for reading.
Academic Benefits of Reading
Secondary reasons to cultivate a reading environment for your child are compelling as well. Reading increases vocabulary, builds critical thinking skills, and develops the art of conversation, discussion, and imagination. For most children, becoming an avid reader will not come naturally. It takes time to establish the habit, but the data below substantiates that it is well worth the effort.
The Value of Living Books
Our school believes introducing children to living books is the exceptional way to inspire a child to read. While we use the term living books often, it may seem foreign to those outside the Charlotte Mason circle of education. The simplest definition of a living book is a book that captures your mind and emotions into the subject matter in such a way that you can easily remember events and facts. Living Books will promote noble thoughts and ideas and will come alive for the reader. Introducing these types of books to our children will help to foster an appetite for reading.
Just by implementing a few of the following strategies below, you can begin to create a good recipe for exceptional reading. It is never too early or too late to start.
Recipe Card for Reading
- Make a weekly or bi-monthly trip to the library and choose 5 - 10 books to take home to enjoy.
- Devote 5 - 10 minutes every day to reading aloud to your child even if they are already and accomplished reader.
- Have your child read every day and work up to 20 minutes per day.
- Be intentional when you choose to have your reading time. (Turn off the phone, I-pad, tv, and computer.)
- Choose a family book that can be read aloud over a period of time (the Narnia series, a biography - Corrie Ten Boom, Eric Liddel, etc.).
- Let your children catch you reading!
Notice that these six strategies are simple. They don’t require an education degree, a lesson plan, a chart, or a grading system. If you boil it down, all they require is spending a little time with your child and a book. It should be relaxing and fun. In fact, it is a fantastic way to create lasting, simple memories with your child – which is probably the most important benefit of all.