This year, more than 180,000 children in the State of New South Wales, Australia, will take part in the Premier’s Reading Challenge. The Challenge is open to all children from kindergarten to year 9 and more than 2000 public, private and independent schools are expected to take part.
I think the Challenge operates in other States in Australia and possibly in other parts of the World as well. I’d love to hear from you, if this is the case. You can use the Comments Box at the bottom of this article.
Children Just Love You to Read to Them
After she read “Rumble in the Jungle” to the children in the library, they quickly got over their shyness, lining up to hug and talk to her.
This is what was quoted in The Sun Herald’s article about New South Wales Premier, Kristina Keneally, when she launched this year’s Premier’s Reading Challenge at a Public School last week.
Children just seem to love you to read to them. If you’re thinking about raising great kids I don’t think you can overlook the power of reading.
It starts with Simple Picture Books
The choice of baby books available today is fabulous. There are books made of cloth, with no sharp edges, so they are safe for the baby to play with. There are even baby books made of plastic, so your baby can play with them in the bath.
No matter what the book is made of, if you sit with your baby and patiently go through the simple pictures, they will (most of the time) be delighted and very happy to be involved. And the great thing is, they are learning while being happily involved. Learning about colors, about shapes, animals, every day objects and a whole host of exciting things. Have you ever stopped to think about all the things a baby sees for the very first time in a book. Think about that, the next time you buy a book. There’s so much choice, do you want the first zebra your baby sees to be that one!
Babies soon become toddlers – and I’ve yet to hear of a toddler who didn’t like bedtime stories. Of course, it’s not just about the story, it’s about having one-on-one quality time with Mom or Dad, or whoever is reading the story. The toddler feels special and loved – and I believe this is one of the key factors to raising great kids. Go to Raising Great Kids – Unconditional Love for more thoughts on love.
And of course the learning just continues to continue! Toddlers’ minds absorb all that you show them, so it’s worthwhile giving this some thought and choosing books wisely.
And so the Story Goes
It wont be long before your toddler is a young child and wants to start reading to you. There’s an even greater choice of books now and you’ll soon get to know the types of books that are your particular child’s favorite. And watch your child’s confidence grow as he/she learns to read for him/herself. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to stop reading to them. I think children enjoy being read to for many more years, to the point where they don’t need pictures anymore. They just listen intensely to the story, maybe hearing a chapter each night – and look forward to going to bed because they want to know what happens next!
Reading = Knowledge
Yes, I know there will be exceptions, but generally speaking kids gain an enormous amount of knowledge from reading – and the learning never stops. We all continue to learn from books, newspapers, journals, magazines, the internet – I haven’t heard of anybody who knows it all – have you? To instill in your child a love of reading, and hence learning, has got to be one of the best things parents can do in raising great kids.
What to Read and What Not to Read?
Well, that is the question! There are obvious subjects that would not be suitable for babies and young children, but at the end of the day the choice lies with parents. As children mature they might be exposed to material and subjects we would prefer them not to know about – and I guess we have to deal with that. But parents do have a huge influence on what their children read and they can guide them accordingly. Most of the time it will be parents who are buying books and borrowing from libraries.
Obviously schools/teachers can influence what a child reads. I can’t remember my children bringing home books from school that I thought were inappropriate, but if this happens to you, have a chat with the teacher involved. Your children may also read books you don’t approve of at a friend’s house. Again, you can personally deal with this if you wish to.
While raising great kids, make reading a habit in your household. Once that habit is formed, children are more likely to continue with it, long after you are no longer there to encourage and help them.
As always, I’d love to have your thoughts on reading – and thank you for reading this blog!