Tag Archives: #parentingtips

Reading challenging books quickly, helps weaker readers to catch up – it’s official

Hi,

From time to time I have debates with people who defend easy read books as being fun and a great introduction to reading. And for younger readers (5 to 7) I tend to agree with them. However, what next? What is the best approach to natually coax along young reading skills and maintain their interest in reading while they learn?

I chanced upon a very interesting article in the TES (Times Education Supplement). It reports on a study looking at adolescent readers and their reading progress. The study’s conclusions are interesting – reading challenging books quickly (within 12 weeks) helps weaker readers to catch up. The study also dispels the myth that ‘poorer readers need simpler texts’ and supports the idea of letting the reader crack on with the reading. It seems so obvious doesn’t it?

The challenging books referred to in the study were: The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne, Once by Morris Gleitzman, and Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams.

Here is the link so you can read directly what is reported about the study:

TES article about a reading study

As you may already suspect, I fully support an ‘aim for the stars’ ethos as opposed to ‘pigeon-holing’  or ‘dumbing down’. There are so many great books out there waiting for enthusiastic young readers. To the above list we could easily add Tolkien, Pullman, Morpurgo, Blackman and so many others. I recommend friendly chats with librarians and second-hand book staff to discover great books. At first, there may be a little resistance along the lines of ‘it’s boring’ and ‘I don’t want to read that.’ However, with the right themes, books, and writers, this can quickly turn into ‘light touch-paper and let them get on with it’. Which I believe this study confirms.

Happy reading.

D.M. Jarrett

 

 

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Smart books inspire smart youngsters 🤗 Say ‘no’ to dumbing down

Hi there,

This is a message to all parents, carers and mentors of children. Children are amazing and talented. They can achieve pretty much anything with guidance, learning and practice. Please inspire them and raise the quality of what they are given to read. As the saying goes – aim for the stars.

My message is simple – rubbish in, rubbish out. You create what you shape. If you genuinely want the best for the children in your care, please think it through carefully. A child of 8 could easily develop a reading age of 12 and be at an advantage in their development. Give them a book with a reading age of 5 and where will that lead? Whereas, inspiring a love of learning and reading will broaden their horizons and inspire them to greater things.

Are you in need of convincing? In case this sounds like ‘elitist nonsense’, here are some links from well established sources expressing their thoughts on the subject:

Anthony Horowitz article

Geraldine MacCaughrean – Carnegie Medal Winner

New York Times – smarten up the kids

Stop dumbing down books for teens

And so, over to you. We can choose wisely and help guide the young minds in our lives. We have that opportunity and there are plenty of great books out there from all eras – often in libraries, secondhand and charity book stores. What were your best reads?  I shared Biggles with my 7 year old son, and in later years, Asterix, Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemmingway, and a little Shakespeare. Reading can be fun as well as mind food. Next, he read through Percy Jackson, Harry Potter and moved on to Tolkien. Once a love of reading has taken root there is no stopping it.

Enjoy the challenge.

D.M. Jarrett