Tom Palmer Euro 2012 blog, part three: Literacy begins at home
Posted by Tom Palmer
6 Jun 2012
Encouraging parents to help their children to enjoy reading for pleasure
What is the most likely influence in a child’s life that is going to make them love reading?
Their local library?
All the above can be important, but, really, we know that if a child’s parents encourage them to read, then they are far more likely to become book lovers, and the 2009 PISA/OECD survey found that 15-year-olds whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher literacy scores than those whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all, regardless of their socio-economic background.
When I work in schools the teachers make it quite clear to me that children are more likely to love reading if their parents have made books an important part of their lives together. Also, when I meet families at bookshops, libraries and festivals, I get the same impression.
I have been working on the National Literacy Trust’s Premier League Reading Stars scheme for nearly a decade. One of its great strengths has been that it involved whole families in reading, not just the child.
Working with families and getting them to talk about reading together is very, very rewarding. Part of it is overcoming prejudices, but even more of it is breaking down fears in the parents that make them shy away from reading and school.
As part of the National Literacy Trust’s Euro 2012 literacy resources, I have written a letter for schools to send out to parents, suggesting ways that they can help their children to develop a love of reading through the football this summer. You can read it here: http://tompalmer.co.uk/documents/TomPalmer-Ten-Top-Tips-for-family-reading.pdf. It lists ten ways parents can help their children to read for pleasure on the back of the Euro 2012 tournament.
In the last few weeks tens-of-thousands of these letters have been sent out from schools. Some schools and parents have asked me for me to expand on the brief tips in the letter, for instance:
- Deliver a newspaper with match reports and previews to a child’s bedroom door at the weekend
- Challenge your children to a game where you all predict the scores of the matches – giving them a tournament preview magazine, so that they can read up on the teams and players before making their final decisions
- Go to the library and borrow books from the sports fiction, sports biography, how-to-play-football sections
- Find a good football website with short interesting write ups on the tournament and look at it at half-time in the games
- Read my daily football spy story (5 minutes aloud a day from 11 June to 2 July) that will draw on the events of the tournament as they unfold.
As a result, for the next ten days I’ll be fleshing out these ideas a little on my blog (http://www.footballdetective.blogspot.com/), tweeting them from @tompalmerauthor.
I hope they’re useful. They will be written for parents and – hopefully – distributed to adults through libraries, schools and readers of the National Literacy Trust blog.
If you would like to see more of the Euro 2012 literacy activities we have put together – including a pack of ideas for classroom activities and events, as well as a Euro 2012 challenge, then visit our Euro 2012 page.
Tom Palmer is the author of Black Op, a new spy/football story for children, published by Puffin.
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Blogs by the same author
- Five things adults can do to get kids reading for pleasure during the World Cup in Blog by Tom Palmer
- Why the World Cup draw matters to schools in Blog by Tom Palmer
- Tom Palmer Euro 2012 blog, part two: Confessions of a school-visiting author in Blog by Tom Palmer
- Tom Palmer Euro 2012 blog, part one: Reading Euro 2012 in Blog by Tom Palmer
- Ten things Premier League Reading Stars could have done for me in Blog by Tom Palmer