The geekdaddy and I are both avid readers. We both grew up immersed in books, and even now spend a lot of our time reading, although it’s mostly screen rather than the printed page these days. We’ve always wanted books to feature heavily in our kids’ lives, and from birth each of our kids have had three bedtime stories read to them per night. Yes, three. And each child gets one of us to read to them (we swap around so it’s not always the same parent with the same child).
So it has caused us a certain amount of consternation that the geekdaughter has not seemed quite as keen to learn to read as we might have hoped. She’s gone through the motions of learning to read – she learnt her letters and phonics at pre-school and in reception last year, but it was a constant struggle to get her to read the books she brought home each week from school. We wondered if it was that the subject matter and so bought several books to supplement her school reading – the Julia Donaldson Songbirds (affiliate link) series seemed the most well-received, but reading remained something we told her she should do rather than something she wanted to do. And she certainly never picked up a book to read for pleasure. Despite all this her reading gradually improved, and I started noticing that she was reading more and more – signs in the shops, text on TV, etc etc.
Fast forward to September and the start of Year 1. She’s now getting homework from school, as well as reading books to bring home. She has a little reading record book where we and the school can both make notes of the books she reads so that everyone concerned has a feel for how she is getting on (it goes to and from school with her in her book bag). As the first term progressed she still didn’t show any inclination to read for pleasure, but her ability continued to develop and we adopted a flexible approach – just making sure she read something each day. We didn’t update her reading record all that often as she very rarely read a whole book, and when the geekdaddy and I met with her teacher for parents’ evening there were no concerns raised over this. What we didn’t fully realise though was that the school were trying to encourage the kids (in all years) to read a certain number of books per week…
At the end of term there was a prize-giving at school. And any child in any year who had managed to read their 4 books per week was given a certificate. And the geekdaughter was quite put out to have not received one. She kept talking about it, expressing disappointment, feeling left out. Her best friend had got a certificate, she wanted one too
It seems our little girl might have a teeny tiny competitive streak. Because since the end of term she has wanted to read. She has wanted to read a book a day, and she is nagging us to write them all in her reading record. Even on days when she’s really tired at bedtime and clearly struggling to concentrate, she has wanted to finish her book. She wants to get a certificate this term! It’s doing wonders for her reading skills, which are coming on in leaps and bounds. And last week, for the first time ever, she picked up one of her story books and started reading it on her own with absolutely no encouragement from us!
It still feels like we have a little way to go before she is reading for fun. But I don’t mind at all that she’s reading out of competitiveness – at least she’s reading!
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