Sunday, January 25, 2015

How to get the best out of reading with children

How to get the best out of reading with children

As winter nights draw in , Mark O’Donnell, the new headmaster of St Martin’s Ampleforth, the prep school at Ampleforth College has provided some top tips on reading with young children.
Mark says, “Unlocking a child’s imagination through reading enriches their vocabulary and gives them the opportunity to form opinions and articulate their thoughts.
“Recent research undertaken at Harvard has highlighted the significance of reading to and with children before asking them about what they have read and discussing the ideas, context and relationships that stories provide. 
“By encouraging children to articulate their ideas you are providing them with opportunities to gain new insights and develop their ability to form opinions and to think ever more effectively.”

Mark’s tips based on nearly 20 years’ experience teaching ages 3-12:
  1. Make reading a part of your family life – Always encourage reading, whether it is on the back of a cereal box at breakfast, or road signs on the way to school.
  2. Indulge their interests – Children are more likely to stay engaged if the book is on a topic they are interested in, it also helps to see what topic they are most enjoying at school and find a book to match it. 
  3. Get comfortable! – A quiet, cosy environment is perfect for some independent reading so your child can concentrate, as well as reading together.
  4. Be sure to ask questions – To keep them interested in the story and encourage them to reflect on what they’re reading, ask your child what they think will happen next or where you got to the previous night to make sure they’re engaged.
  5. Read again and again – It’s important that you encourage your child to re-read favourite books and poems to help build up fluidity and confidence.
  6. Rhyme and repetition – Books and poems which include rhyme and repetition are great for encouraging your child or children to join in and remember the words.
Mark adds: “There are also marked benefits for the parents when they read with their child. It reminds them of how they enjoyed being read to and sharing this time together further strengthens the bond between a child and a parent. It also allows parents to become very aware of their child’s social, emotional, and intellectual development.”

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