A survey taken of Ontario students writing standardized tests administered by Ontario’s Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) found that only 50% of grade three and grade six students in 2010/2011 reported that they liked to read. That is a drop from 76% of grade three students and 65% of grade six students in twelve years – a decline significant enough to call a ‘worrying trend’ according to People for Education’s report Reading for Joy.
As children make the transition through elementary school, they move from learning to read to reading to learn. Students who like to read will naturally read to learn more about things that interest or entertain them as time goes on. On an international level, 2011 OECD findings demonstrate a direct link between reading enjoyment and school performance. They cite the practice of regular reading as the reason.
Reading efficiency draws one into the material being read and aids in the comprehension of stories.
Consider this powerful quote used on ABC Life Literacy Canada:
For a child, the more time spent with a parent reading aloud increases his or her level of attachment, enhances a sense of security, and imparts the knowledge that their parent feels they are worthwhile people with whom to spend time (How to Raise a Reader, 1987).
If you have a child in kindergarten, grade one or grade two who brings books home to practice reading for homework, check out Finding the balance between reading for fun and reading homework for tips on how to ensure that reading never feels like homework (even if it is).
Coming up: Report cards: The importance of learning skills and work habits.
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