"Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift." — Kate DiCamillo
The latest survey by the National literacy Trust shows record numbers of children reading for enjoyment. This in some ways is in stark contrast to the idea of teenagers glued to digital screens and is great news. There are so many great books out there and with the apparently unstoppable rise of young adult fiction maybe that is why more children are finding things that they enjoy. If everything you read is either too young or too old for you you’re not going to stick to reading but finding things that resonate with you will build a love of reading that will hopefully last a lifetime.
In hindsight, the best things we achieved with home schooling were to give the children a thirst for knowledge and a love of books. We were all excited when the youngest took those first steps of reading independently. A love of reading is not just a pleasure in itself but an open door to access the writing which makes up our everyday world. Making decisions on who to vote for, reading the pilot book before arriving in a new port, communicating on social media, all rely on our ability to read.
As we travelled we tapped in to their loves; the things that they saw around them. We found books about the places we visited and the things we saw. We enjoy reading and the children saw us sat with books. We talked about stories and read books out loud together. By using kindles we were able to obtain books quickly on top of the other books that we already had. Family brought books to us when they came to visit. Book swaps can introduce you to books you may never have come across and social media makes getting recommendations easier from contacts on facebook to suggestions on Goodreads.
Obviously there is still a long way to go before there is a fairness and equality for all children to be able to unlock reading. And not every child will enjoy it. Not everyone likes sitting down with a book the same way that not everyone enjoys going walking or shopping or sky diving. There is so much out there; graphic novels, magazines, short stories, poetry, anthologies, novels, the list goes on. The important bit for our children is to ensure that they have the chance to explore reading, to decide for themselves, to make sure that they have seen and had access to texts of a rich variety. Then we will have given them the chance of that precious gift of reading.