Students who reported having all four types of reading materials (books, magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias) in their home scored, on average, higher than those who reporter having fewer reading materials. – The Nation’s Report Card: Fourth-Grade Reading 2000, April 2001, The National Center for Education Statistics
Usually we find ourselves posting somewhat depressing or negative factoids about literacy. There are plenty of positive indicators out there as well!
Different types of reading materials not only enhance knowledge bases for children, but also prepare them for their adult future where reading skills will be applied widely.
The Internet makes sourcing these materials much easier for parents, if there are not magazines or newspapers lying around the house. Try picking articles from the BBC website (from anywhere in the world) which has short articles in large font with varying levels of vocabulary. Or even ask your child to Google his or her favorite store, and read a bit from the website about new products.
And if you live in a very ‘wired’ household with nifty gadgets like iPads or Kindles, remember that fiction is readily available for consumption through tablets and handheld devices. They may not have that wonderful smell or feel or a book, but attract reluctant readers who are more interested in computing or games.
If your child is just learning the alphabet, consider reading aloud to them from a variety of different sources as well. Perhaps the New York Times headlines won’t grab a 5 year old, but the backs of colourful cereal boxes certainly will! Street signs, branding on toys, and of course good old Peter Rabbit at bedtime are all great ways to incorporate an awareness of the ubiquity of language into your child’s life.
Sarah Forrest is an Easyread Coach for the Easyread System, an online phonics course designed to provide support for spelling and reading problems for children with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder and highly visual learning styles. Find out more at www.easyreadsystem.com or www.facebook.com/easyreadsystem.