Dear Parents / Carers,
The school will be closed on Monday 11 March for the Labour Day public holiday.
Recently I was speaking with three of our teachers who have returned to work from family leave. Being educators they all understand the importance of immersing children with stories and books. They have been reading with their children from birth and have recounted how from as early as three months old their children have engaged with books and had favourites.
When children go to school we can sometimes lose sight of the real purpose for reading which is to gain meaning and pleasure from books. We need to remember why we read and what is important to the child. What originally generated their interest and desire to take part in the stories that we read to them?
A parent recently shared with me their frustration when they sat down to listen to their son read. The parent expected her son to read the print, sound out harder words or make an educated guess based on the meaning of the text or the pictures supplied on the page.
Unfortunately, her son had other ideas which included paying little attention to the print, talking about the pictures describing the entire story with little or no help from the words on the page. He tried to engage his mother in talking about the pictures.
An over emphasis on the task of identifying individual letters and words can often detract from the pleasure of books and take away one of the key ingredients to reading success which is enjoyment.
Each child needs a balance between the struggle to read words and involvement in a good story. We can achieve this balance by talking about the book with our young readers. I recently walked around the school and had a conversation with a range of readers to demonstrate some of the questions that can be helpful in encouraging a child to engage with the book that they are reading:
What do you think this book is about?
What has happened or may be about to happen?
What do you think of the characters?
What do the pictures tell us?
What or who do you like or dislike in the story?
By asking these types of questions we help the child see that it is the meaning that matters and that words are a means to an end. By involving ourselves in books with our children we will automatically develop and support the child's curiosity about text and the meaning it conveys. Children will be encouraged to examine print and discussions take place about the meaning of words and the relationships of the book's ideas with the world beyond.
We need to encourage our children to make connections between what they read and their own experiences, knowledge and ideas.
I encourage all families to participate in the FORPS Readathon.
The Rowville Primary School Readathon has been running since Monday 18 February and will conclude on Monday 18 March 2019. The aim is for each child to read as many books as possible during this period. This can include books that are read to children, at home or school, as well as books that children read themselves. Further information is available on the FORPS page in this newsletter.