The Importance of Reading
Have you and your children immersed yourselves in the captivating world of books recently?
If the answer is no, it’s time to change that narrative! A recent report in the Sydney Morning Herald highlighted a concerning decline in book reading across Australia, especially among adults. However, there’s a silver lining: children seem to be holding onto the magic of reading more steadfastly than their grown-up counterparts. As parents, we have a vital role to play in fostering a love for books in our children and reigniting the joy of reading within ourselves.
In an era dominated by digital distractions, the allure of a good book is facing tough competition. The shift from the comforting glow of bedtime reading to the harsh light of screens is undeniable. Yet, the number of books within the walls of our homes remains a potent symbol of cultural wealth, impacting our children’s educational journey significantly. Consider this: homes adorned with books, even if they are mainly the cherished possessions of your little ones, are homes that cultivate a rich literary environment. Commendably, many parents diligently read to their young ones, creating an invaluable legacy of literacy. However, the mere presence of adult books in the household, whether opened or not, continues to be a noteworthy measure of cultural capital on the global stage. Research consistently emphasises the connection between the number of books at home and a child’s academic success. The recent Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS, 2021) reaffirms that the enjoyment of reading, supported by homes containing a diverse range of books, yields the greatest academic advantage. Delving deeper into the digital-versus-print debate, recent PISA data reveals that students who balance their reading between paper and digital formats tend to outshine their peers who exclusively opt for digital reading. The number of books in the home emerged as a key factor influencing academic performance and the joy of reading.
Now for confession time. I haven’t read nearly as much as I had hoped this year. I can give you lots of excuses about why that has been the case, but the truth is that I didn’t make it a high enough priority. During these Summer holidays, I am committing myself to regular, quiet reading time. I know it will be great for my mind and soul as I take time out and immerse myself in some great books.
In the face of rising student anxiety and disengagement, it’s imperative to encourage your children to pick up a book and read. What better Christmas present could there be?
So, as the Summer holidays beckon, let’s embrace the opportunity to create a haven for reading. Let this be a season where books become companions, curiosity blossoms, and the shared joy of reading becomes a treasured family tradition.
Mr Trevor Norman