Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Kids (Even Wee Kids) Need to Read Alone, Too!

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So, as often happens with "funny" articles like this, I'm frowning when most everyone else is apparently laughing. This article does have its genuinely funny moments but devotes way too much attention to a reading/time management issue that is easily solved. 

Teachers and Parents Possibly Creating a Problem Where There Was Not One

Basically, kids need to be allowed to read alone. Encouraged to read alone. After I read the article, I was baffled as to why the parents didn't simply have their children read alone. Easy solution. I asked around and found out that many teachers strongly encourage that parents supervise/be involved with children's reading at least to/through second grade (second grade for the kids, not the parents). I also heard from parents who encourage independence, including reading independence, in children. Yay! We need more of that. Kids are spoon fed enough as it is.

There certainly is a place for parental involvement when it comes to children and reading. Ideally, it starts early, with parents reading to their infants and toddlers. It should also include toddlers getting kid-friendly books, perhaps picture books and books with simple words. Pop-up books. Cloth books. Kids should feel these books, the texture of the pages, the smell of the books and, yes, perhaps even get them dirty. (As for the friendly interactivity of a tablet, I am not sure how I feel about this for young-age kids. Maybe a subject for another blog post.)

Escaping into a World of Pleasure

I have no idea why teachers are not encouraging kids to read independently when they are in kindergarten, first and second grade. It's not like it necessarily takes away from class time; the kids can read at home. It is a huge disservice. Children need to read alone as well as with  their parents (and siblings and friends). Reading alone fosters a true sense of enjoyment, of going on adventures, of losing thyself in another world. Sure, it can be challenging. A kid might have no idea what a word means or may misread it as another word.

So what?

I say again, so what?

That challenge helps the kid with critical thinking skills. Troubleshooting skills. Kids can use contextual cues such as language and pictures to try to puzzle out unfamiliar words. This can be more worthy than simply having Mother or Father explain a meaning. And kids don't need to understand every word to enjoy a book.

Children need to be able to pick out their own books and then escape into a world of pleasure. Parents do their children a disservice when they do not encourage the joy of reading alone. There can be a good balance between reading with parents and reading independently.

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