I visit schools all over the UK and abroad promoting reading for pleasure. I love seeing kids get excited about books – even the ‘reluctant’ darlings – and it happens every time. But if we are really going to change reading behaviour with children then we need to get parents and carers on board.
If children are encouraged to read at school AND at home then their chances of becoming a keen reader are increased dramatically. Children who read for pleasure give themselves so many advantages, both in terms of academic progress but also with regard to wellbeing, health and more. There is considerable academic research to back this up, much of it summarised by charities which promote reading, such as BookTrust and The National Literacy Trust.
Parents are always keen to help their children succeed and be happy and yet so many don’t realise that one of the most powerful ways they can do this is simply by encouraging their children to read and fostering a love of books in the home.
Because this is a special area of interest of mine I have now started offering talks to parents/carers as part of my school author visits. These sometimes take place during the school day but more often after school when hopefully more parents can attend. The talks are brief, punchy, entertaining and feature the following elements:
- Why reading is so important
- What reading for pleasure means
- How being a reader can help your child
- Strategies to promote reading for pleasure at home
I have now given this talk on over 15 occasions and the response has been very positive. Often parents are quite unaware of the research showing how reading can help pupils to achieve more and find relief from the stress of the modern world.
So what qualifies me to talk on this subject?
- I am both a parent and former teacher myself so see both sides of the equation.
- I have been a full-time children’s author for over 18 years and have written over 30 books.
- I have visited over 200 schools, working with thousands of children to promote reading and using different approaches to find those which are most successful.
- I have a degree in Psychology with particular interest in education, learning and brain function.
- I have developed an interest in Reading for Pleasure over the past 10 years, and studied research findings, collected evidence and gathered strong anecdotal material which witnesses to the transformational power of books in the lives of young people.
- I am an experienced speaker, having given presentations and addressed audiences around the world during the last 30 years. I keep things light, breezy and to the point.
- Some schools find it hard to get parents to turn up to talks of this nature. I have devised a successful strategy to ensure that seats are filled.
So, if your school wants to instigate a culture of reading, if you want to see your pupils develop a love for books and if you are interested in improving writing skills, concentration, academic attainment and you would like to have parents on board then get in touch!