Like most people, you probably just came back from vacations, wishing that your kids’ school starts soon again. After all, the summer break was quite long (especially here in Spain), and, like every year, kids start getting bored, a clear sign that they need again a more regular daily routine.
Here is the question: How many times did you read with your kids this summer? Or, in case they already read by themselves, how many books did they read for fun?
For people who love reading, reading is not only a magnificent way to discover new cultures, to see the world through somebody else’s eyes or just to learn, amongst many other things. For kids, being in contact with books is enormously important; it is fun, opens new perspectives and, on top, trains their linguistic competence.
Reading habits and comprehension skills are the trigger for your child’s learning abilities
“Linguistic competence” might sound like rather theoretical concept; fact is that it is THE core competence of learning. Reading habits and comprehension skills are the trigger for your child’s learning abilities. In other words, the more he is reading, the better he gets at it, and the better he understands written text, the better he performs at school. In case you have any doubt about this, just look at the following graph, which shows the correlation between reading skills and school results.
Every time you read with your kids or give them a book they love, you are opening the door to a better future for them. And, the earlier you start, the better. Life does not stop. Life does not wait. Every day counts. Don’t look for excuses to start tomorrow, start right now, or this afternoon when you come home. Life is moving, and everything we are not doing today we cannot recover. We are mistaken believing that for one day nothing happens.
This summer, one of the books I read was Jugar con el corazón (“Playing with the heart”) from Xesco Espar, coach of the FC Barcelona handball team that won the Champions League in 2005. He talks about success and failure, both in sports and life. “Failure does not come from making a big mistake, but is the result of not doing many important things for a long period of time.” This phrase summarizes very well the importance of being proactive to make a difference in life. Knowing that reading skills are key for our kids’ development is meaningless if you don’t read with them, if you don’t give them books whenever you can.
And please, don’t say that your children do not like books, every child that’s born loves books and enjoys listening to stories read aloud by their parents… a completely different issue is how we educate them over the years. Let me finish with just some small ideas on how to foster reading at home. First, want it or not, you are the role model for your kids, if they see you reading, they will read. Then, it is important to convey the joy of reading, motivating kids in a playful way without any pressure. This starts with looking for books that reflect their interests, with stories they like and that are adequate for their age. The interplay of various media - books, eBooks, interactive apps and audiobooks - brings fun and variety to the everyday reading experience.
Life is now. Start reading.