Sunday, May 24, 2015

How Children's Reading Habits Are Changing & Six Ways to Support them

The National Literacy Trust in the United Kingdom has just published its annual report on children's literacy and there are some encouraging signs. The trust is the only national charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK.

1. The report highlights

The 2014 report (released in 2015) of 32,026 children in grades 3 to 11 suggests some interesting trends:
  • Levels of enjoyment have risen with 54.5% enjoying reading quite a lot.
  • Daily reading rates have increased substantially with a 28.6% increase in children who read outside the class on a daily basis.
  • Twice as many children read outside the class for fun each day (now 29.6%).
  • Except for magazines all forms of reading increased, with musical lyrics (50.3%), text messages (72.6%), websites (60.2%) and social networking being the highest (53.6%). Interestingly, 46.7% of all children read fiction at least once a month outside class.
  • The majority of children said they have a favourite book (61.0%).
  • Girls continue to be the most devoted readers
  • Girls and boys read different material outside school - more girls than boys read computer-based formats.
  • Children who enjoyed reading are three times more likely to read above their appropriate level than children who do not enjoy reading (34.9% compared to 10.7%).
2. Six Tips to Help Children to Grow in Enjoyment for Reading

Once again, results of this kind show why it is important for parents and teachers to work hard to increase children's enjoyment of reading. Here are six tips that will help to make a difference:

#1 Work hard to connect children with books that they will enjoy - try to supply books that match interests, that are at an appropriate level, and provide time and space in their lives to read.
#2 Help children to manage their time so that they have time to read - this might require us to restrict screen time for activities those activities that offer only limited reading opportunities.
#3 Provide opportunities for children to experience many forms of reading - books, careful use of social media for class, group and exchange with students in other places. Create varied opportunities for reading magazines, graphic novels, books, music, non-fiction, poetry, cultural texts (e.g. advertising, news, political posters).
#4 Show interest in the things children read - talk to them about their reading, ask them to share what they are reading and why, engage with them concerning the content of their reading and their interests.
#5 Encourage opportunities for children to share their reading interests - try discussion groups on specific texts or genres, one-on-one reading conferences, 'dining room table' discussions with small groups of students (as developed by Nancie Atwell).
#6 Help children to become writers as well - reading feeds writing and writing feeds reading. Get children excited about both by allowing them to take greater control and by supporting them at every step. Encourage them to write for real readers and try to establish ways for others to read their writing as well.

Other related posts on giving children READING SUPPORT


Joanne Lang said...

What great news!!!

Trevor Cairney said...

Yes, it is very encouraging. I hope it continues.

Megan Davis said...

I really enjoyed your ideas for how to foster a love for reading in young children. I teach children with intellectual disabilities and I find that the students who show the most interest in reading, are the ones who show the most progress in reading ability throughout the year. Your ideas were some that I use frequently in my classroom. I keep books on hand that I know are within my students' reading ranges, and try to make sure I have a varied choice of interests. I always make sure they are actually interested in what they have chosen to read. I would like to input your idea of discussion the reading selections in to my classroom routines. I think if my students could learn to discuss what they are enjoying about reading and see that their peers enjoy reading, too, it would remove some of the negative stigma they associate with reading.

Trevor Cairney said...

Thanks for your comment. Glad you use many of the ideas in your classroom. Very encouraging. I hope your students enjoy discussing their reading with others. Let me know how it turns out.