Reading to your child(ren) as well as them reading to you

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents. —Emilie Buchwald

Reading is the gateway to all learning.

It is tempting therefore to focus on the acquisition of reading skills, phonics, decoding, inference, deduction etc. when home schooling as these are the practical, assessable skills that we are using to track progress.

Snuggling up and reading a book doesn’t seem like ‘work’. And yet, it is the most important work I think we do as a family. As well as the children’s reading books we always have a family book on the go.

It is through this that we got Freya reading Roald Dahl.

I don’t mean reading before bed, although we always read three picture books or chapters of a book before bed – one chosen by each child – this is how Felicity can recite all of the words of ‘Pass the Jam Jim’ while the older two groan night after night!

I mean making reading a book together part of the learning. The book can be fiction or non-fiction but we always choose something a bit beyond their reading ability (or in the case of Wind in The Willows a bit beyond our reading ability – how many complex sentences Kenneth Grahame?)

This has meant that the girls’ vocabulary is constantly expanding, their interest in authors is challenged and widened and that books are always a ‘go to’ for escapism for the 2, 4 or 6 year old.

It also means that we get to just enjoying reading to the girls, without the halting decoding, deciphering or refocusing required when they are reading to us. Don’t get me wrong, there are constant interruptions, “what does that mean?”, “why did he say that?”, “what is going to happen?” etc. Mainly from Flossy, but at least we know they are listening!

Don’t under estimate the power of choosing a book together in the book store then allowing it to transport you to another world altogether, as a family. Just lovely!

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