Let us keep reading!

With the school holiday period most imminent, I want to talk about the importance of reading and how involving your children to read will have enormous benefits for them as lifelong learners.   

Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word. ... Even after children learn to read by themselves, it is still important for you to read aloud together at home.

In the Primary School we do two things with regards to reading. But this is dependent on the age and stage of our students we are teaching, as they are either in the phase of 1) learning to read or 2) reading to learn. Both are crucial and one cannot happen before the other.

We are passionate about reading in the Primary School. We have in fact even extended our day by 15 minutes to allow time for our Primary staff to read every day to all our students.

You may well have heard me or any of my Primary staff bang on about the importance of reading, but are you aware of what reading can do beyond the basics of learning?

Here is some food for thought about what reading rigor can do for your child/children:

  • Books create warm emotional bonds between adults and children when they read books together.
  • Books help children develop basic language skills and profoundly expand their vocabularies—much more than any other media.
  • Books are interactive; they demand that children think. Fiction and nonfiction books widen our consciousness. They give us new ways to think and new ideas. They expand our universe beyond time and place and inspire our own original thoughts.
  • Books develop critical thinking skills. A book is read by an individual. It has no laugh track or musical score that emotionally primes a reader’s reaction. You alone decide what you think about a book and its contents with no one leaning over your shoulder telling you how to think.
  • Books develop and nourish children’s imaginations, expanding their worlds. Picture books introduce young children to the world of art and literature. Novels and nonfiction books stimulate children’ sensory awareness, helping children to see, hear, taste, feel, and smell on an imagined level.
  • Books let children try on the world before they have to go out into it. Books give children an opportunity to experience something in their imaginations before it happens to them in real life. Books help prepare children for their next stage of maturity, vicariously preparing for the “grown-up” world.
  • Books help us to understand ourselves, to find out who we are. Books strengthen our self-confidence and help us to understand why we are who we are. They help us discover where we come from and help us figure out where we want to go.
  • Books help children and adults to open up, build connections and broaden our capacity to empathize; they help us to understand others. Books help us to become more compassionate.
  • Books help children to chart their own moral and ethical course. Books help us to reflect on right and wrong, good and evil. Books can offer guidance and help us to determine our life priorities, our own set of values.
  • Books answer questions. Books create questions.
  • Books entertain and offer a great escape. They make us laugh and giggle. They make us cry.
  • Books are great companions. You are never lonely when you have a book to read.
  • Books comfort us. Books help us understand that no matter who we are, or what our experiences may be, we are not alone in the world.

So, let it be said – books are essential! In other words, the substantial meal of the day for your brain and your wellbeing! With the holidays almost upon us I would love to see our Primary Library shelves empty of books because every child has taken home a large bundle of books home to devour and enjoy over the holiday break.

Through these tricky times as life is slowly returning to pre-COVID conditions, books can be a wonderful distraction. And the good thing about books is that they do not go ‘off’, and they have no real use by date, apart from the return to the library after the holidays! So, let us all keep our brains active over the holiday with our nose a good book or two…

Happy holidays to all our students, staff and families. We look forward to seeing everyone returning rested and refreshed and ready to take on whatever comes for the second half to the year.

My best wishes,

Mr Roderick Wood
Associate Principal Primary School