If You Do ONE Thing This Summer, Do This
This is a typical morning in our household and I love it. I am not a morning person, but
because my children get up with the desire to snuggle and read books it has become my favorite part of the day. (Plus, coffee.)
They're so cute! I probably take pictures of them doing this at least once a week. These are the moments I treasure up in my heart, especially the mornings all five of us (dog included) snuggle up on the couch to color, read books, and be close. It's quiet and delightful. Sometimes my husband gets the itch to "do something" but it's in these moments that I truly feel that we are in fact doing quite a bit. Taking the time to be quiet and read books does more for the soul than I can possibly explain. So if you're going to do anything this summer, take time to read books with your kids. If you are going to ask your kids to read for the pure pleasure of it, then you need to model the behavior you ask of them. If you want them to read, you need to show through your actions (and not just your words) that it is a valuable way to spend your time. The more time that you make for reading the more that you convey to them the importance of it.
I'm not just spouting this ideal because of my own experiences with it, but because researchers have found that the most effective "strategy" for parents and teachers to employ is allowing readers to pick their own literature and read it to their heart's content. Seriously. Allington, Rasinski, researchers at Scholastic and universities all agree that the number one, most effective thing you can do you for your reader is to read.
Read beside them.
Read to them.
Set a time to read independently every day.
It's super simple, but it's discouraging how many parents actually follow through with it. According to one study by Scholastic, of the parents who admitted that friends, family, and experts told them the value of reading to their children, approximately 30% of them actually followed through with it. As a reading teacher, that frustrates me.
The #1 Excuse was time.
I get it. As a whole people are busy. But if you are too busy to take fifteen to twenty minutes a day to read to children, you are too busy. The truth is that we have the time, we just don't use it wisely. I've been just as guilty of that as everyone else.
I did an experiment with this to show you what I mean here: I set a timer to see how much time I was spending on Instagram every afternoon. I was shocked to see the result! It literally sucked time away from me and I thought of a hundred different things that would have been a more productive use of my time. If I spent even HALF of that time reading to my kids I would've been set. It was that day that I set a time limit on Instagram (a feature I didn't realize existed until I searched through the settings).
My point is this: find the things that are less valuable than reading. Reduce the time that you spend here and replace that time with reading. I can almost guarantee that time on the phone is one of those areas that you can start with.
I hope that this post encourages you to read books. There is nothing more effective for a learner's growth! Research backs that statement up and research backs up the value of the simple task of reading books for the pure pleasure of it - so much so that if your reader reads six books this summer a loss was not seen, but if a reader read ten to twenty growth was noted. In the grand scheme of time, that really is not much when you consider the worthwhile outcome.
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