Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Children are not spending enough time reading!

                                  The amount of children reading is on a decrease

I watched an interesting piece this morning about getting our children to read. The piece stated that the number of children is on the decline, mostly because of the "instant gratification" they receive from playing with consoles and computer games. It seems that many children are choosing to pick up a controller for their console them choosing to sit down with a book.

I am truly lucky that I never really had this problem! We did have computers and consoles growing up, but these where not played with constantly and my sister and I much preferred the interesting worlds that books took us to. This, I believe, helped me during my secondary school years to have a high reading age (at 11 I had the reading age of a 17 year old, I was told!) Jeremy Strong, the author of children's books such as "My brothers Famous bottom" said on the article that " If we can't read, we can't learn"

He himself writes humorous stories for children to read, encouraging their interest by creating humorous characters and plot lines to engage children's interest. Humour does have a great role to play in stories, as children often recall the "funny bits" in a book and talk about them with their friends. My daughter does enjoy a good funny part in her Pre-school age books, but I also feel that the book has to reflect a child's interests too. For example, with my daughters growing interest in Space at the moment, a lot of the stories we are sharing are on this subject, engaging her with tales of trips to the moon, aliens and space rockets!
Karen McCombie, author of "Ally's World" was also on the peice this morning to add to the discussion. She said that it was important for children to feel that if they did not get on with a book, that it was OK to move on and not be forced to finish it. The books that we choose are a personal choice and just like an adult would do, if they do not like the book why shouldn't they put it down!

As a newly published author myself, I could relate to Karen and her tales of reading to children in schools, gaining satisfaction from reading to a child who then feels inspired about picking up a book or even writing their own stories, especially if that child was not a big reader beforehand. I have had this experience after reading to school children and it really does boost your confidence. (After all, that is what it is all about!) A good storyteller can really make a difference to a child's interest in books!

As a child, I remember being drawn to a certain type of book after my teacher at school read to the class a chapter each week (It was the Green Watch series by Anthony Masters) I must have been about 10 years old and I just remember being so enthralled by the books, I asked for them as presents at birthdays etc to get the whole set of stories at home. Such was the influence of that one teacher, who took time to get us interested in stories and reading.

Of course, a lot of children now are reaching for their Tablets such as Kindles or the like, in order to read a book. This is not at all a bad thing, as long as they are reading. In my view, however, I always wish to have my daughter surrounded by children's books she can hold, feel and enjoy.

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