Saturday, 5 February 2011

THE READING ROOM

For many years I've been asking myself - like all responsible teachers and parents - whether books are losing popularity. With computer games, the internet, iPods, and God knows what else, kids' attention moved from drawing, painting and reading picture books to digital gadgets. Soon, the media put a label on children by writing about the digital generation and how different the 21st Century Babies were from their parents and grandparents.
A couple of months ago one of our students- a well-known cell phone freak - drew my attention. He was reading a BOOK! I thought it was a joke and pretended not to pay attention to him. But after a few days I saw him reading again and again. A book had replaced the mobile phone. Was that a step backwards? Definitely not! The 11-year-old boy had always been a good student, but I've noticed recently he's started making even better progress academically. Success brought him popularity, and being more popular he become a trendsetter. Other students started imitating and  in a couple of months, communication between them improved.
Here are a couple of aspects that must have contributed to establishing better relationships and leading to excellent academic results:
  1. Reading books helps children improve their vocabulary
  2. A good book relaxes and eliminates stress (playing video games for hours on end is tiring, sometimes irritating). So, moderation in everything is the solution.
  3. Children's imagination improves: they are able to initiate new games, to embark in new activities.
  4. They get informed and learn about interesting things in a fun way.
  5. Children can find their role models in books.
  6. Good stories teach a child how to behave in social situations.
  7. Last but not least, having developed a reading skill (by practising daily) the child learns faster and better.
At what age should a child be able to read? My daughter started reading at 3, but every child is different. Anyway, parents should not forget that the best learning period is 2  to 7 when it's crucial for the brain to develop verbal skills. Read stories to your kids and this will determine their interest for stories and an impulse to start reading themselves. Select the content, show enthusiasm, let the kid feel your joy in your voice and they'll develop a desire to read.
You can start here:

    http://www.netrover.com/~kingskid/rattic/rattic1.html

    Please share freely in the comments below. Did I miss anything important here?

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