Lacking vital literacy skills holds a person back at every stage of their life. As a child they won’t be able to succeed at school, as a young adult they will be locked out of the job market, and as a parent they won’t be able to support their own child’s learning.
In the UK, a third of businesses are not satisfied with young people’s literacy skills when they enter the workforce and a similar number have organised remedial training for young recruits to improve their basic skills, including literacy and communication.
We’re not just talking about raising readers, we’re talking about raising strong readers. Learning to read is just the first step to learning to read well. Our children don’t just need to learn how to read, they need to be able to understand what they’re reading, pick it apart, analyse it, and derive the deeper meaning. In order for our children to become critical thinkers, they must also be strong readers.
Literacy refers to the ability to read and write at any level. Functional illiteracy is defined as having reading and writing skills that are inadequate “to manage daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills beyond a basic level”. – Early Reading: The Benefits of Starting Early
So what can we do to help our children?
Raising Strong Readers
The following slideshare – Raising Strong Readers from the Professional Education
Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education offers strategies for parents and educators that can help:
Access to Books
In order to raise readers, we need to give them access to books – lots of them. Creating your own library at home can be pretty costly, so here are some resources that can help ease the financial burden:
- My Children’s Books – Cheap Used Online Bookstore
- Scribd – digital and audio book subscription
- Project Gutenberg – free ebooks for download (mostly older works where the copyright has expired).
- Open Library – is like an e-library where you can borrow books online, read them, and return them.
- International Children’s Digital Library – a collection of high quality ebooks for children representing outstanding historical and contemporary books from throughout the world.
- More free books online
- Reading Questions – What to Ask Your Children When You Read Together
- Helping Children with Reading at Home
- Encouraging Reading for Pleasure