As part of the Booktrust “Time to Read” week (17th September 2018 to 23rd September 2018), I have been asked to share our experiences of reading and how much it has benefitted Heidi so far in her life.
How and When We Make Time to Read
Our Time to Read can be summarised into two main categories; Reading for Learning and Reading for Pleasure
- Reading for Learning
Usually school give us a book to read each week. We seem to be going through the Pearson’s Phonics Bug chart. Whilst some of the books are a bit strange (In a Pit, anyone?!) they are designed to be read with only a limited number of sounds.
When we are reading for school work and going through the intricacies of sounds and word formations, we tend to do that just before bath time on an evening. That way, Heidi is not too tired to read and is able to take things in.
- Reading for Pleasure
If we are reading for pleasure, we always do that in bed, before bedtime. Heidi will pick a book from her bookshelf and I will read it throughout. Whilst at some point I know Heidi will be able to read on her own in bed, part of me hopes she will always want me to read to her in bed. Here, I try to be as creative as possible with the voices and actions, whilst being mindful that it is supposed to be settling down time!
What we Read
When we are reading for pleasure, I try to give Heidi as much freedom as possible. I feel as though it is important for her to want to read whatever story she wants to read, as opposed to forcing a book on her.
One of the promoted books this year is “Little Monkey” and this is such a good book for little ones entering school via Reception or into Year 1. This is because the child can relate to the world being seemingly so much bigger than before and being away from loved ones, for potentially the first time ever.
This book is going to be given out to 700,000 Reception aged children in England this year!!
How it has benefited Heidi
For me, the highlight of Heidi’s ability to read was when she was in London as a 4 year old and could navigate her way to the correct Underground Line. Granted it wasn’t perfect, but she knew to look for the “P” for “Piccadilly Line”. It proved that it was all worth it!
Perhaps the best example of how Heidi has benefitted from all the reading she does are the following excepts from her Reception school report:
- “She is becoming a fluent reader. She is able to confidently read and understand simple and more complex sentences.
- “Heidi has enjoyed a range of book and can demonstrate understanding of a story when talking to others about what she has read, recalling main events and characters.”
How it has benefited us
Making Time to Read really does bring us closer together. The bedtime story is such a highlight, and not because I want Heidi to go to sleep!! It is a time when it is just us two. There is peace and quiet and no distractions. Whilst we are focused on the book, we are also close together having cuddles and getting relaxed before bed.
You may have noticed that there are no photos of us reading in bed. This is because I do not want the intimacy of the moment to be broken. Whilst blog posts are important, keeping that peaceful atmosphere is more important!!
Top Tips for getting the most out of Time to Read
Booktrust have kindly shared their top tips for reading with your child. They are:
Set aside some time – Find somewhere quiet without any distractions.
Ask your child to choose a book – Sharing books they have chosen shows you care what they think and that their opinion matters. This means they are more likely to engage with the book.
Sit close together – Encourage your child to hold the book themselves and turn the pages.
Encourage your child to talk about the book – Talking about the characters and their dilemmas helps children understand relationships.
And lastly, above all – make it fun! – It doesn’t matter how you read with a child, as long as you both enjoy the time together.