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Reading and the love of reading are two of the great keys to success in life. They can also be immensely satisfying in their own rights. An interest in reading can be encouraged, especially by parents who read to and with their children, beginning at a very early age. Children thus associate reading with the pleasure of spending "quality time" with their parents. One of the brightest and most accomplished young people I know is a young woman whose father read to her and with her practically every night of her life until she went off to college. She speaks of those times with enormous fondness, and she has already written and published three books of her own! Her writing has now also been published in The New York Times. I'm certainly not saying that all children need to aspire to that level of accomplishment; I'm just saying that encouraging young people to read from a very early age is much, much better than parking them in front of a TV. I never quite understand it when I hear a young person say "I'm bored," when there are so many books to read.
I have taught many students over the years who admitted to hating reading more than anything else on earth. One high school student once told me he had only read one book in his life, and he used it as a book report each year for different teachers. It presented a greater challenge to me, and I always tried to pick novels that the individual class would appreciate, though for many students that was not always possible. With so many other distractions today--hundreds of TV channels, iPhones, and other sophisticated electronics as competition--many students will find that the valuable hours spent reading a book will not match up to the more modern alternatives.
I agree with the above post and would add that a young student will read when they are interested and/or motivated in actually reading for themselves. My son had all the tools, but just wasn't that interested in working on until he noticed some of his buddies were reading aloud with the teacher and he wasn't able to. Once he had that "peer pressure" he started to want to work on reading at home and at school and he was reading very well on his own within a month. My daughter, on the other hand, was interested in letters, letter sounds, sounding out words to write things down, and trying to read words in simple books for more than a year before she entered kindergarten. Her reading readiness was different from my son's.
Some might interpret this to mean that a student will read when s/he has reached emotional, social, and cognitive readiness for reading. However, we must understand that a student is ready when s/he has the tools with which to read and the skills to understand fully how to use those tools. It's not just giving students the tools they need, it also includes teaching them what to do with the tools.
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