Strange, a lot of adults don’t like to read, a lot of kids too, while reading is said to be ‘a joy forever’ (1). Books left untouched, stories not revealed, it seems a waste. Like most things of beauty (Keats again) they must be discovered. And with most explorative journeys it is best to have a guide or mentor nearby. By implication you could say ‘not reading’ is to blame on lack of proper guidance (teaching if you like). To become a joy you need to have the skill first, the fluency and flow in reading a story, not muddling through the words in a text. This requires practice, and of course, lots of it. Again, it is handy to have a guide or teacher nearby: to stimulate practice, to provide corrective feedback from time to time, to assess progress and praise mastery. As with most practice, better start early. At home, for instance; no, at best. Here lies the crucial strain – it is done far too less (2). Despite the numerous studies and tips that inform parents about reading at home and the joy that comes from it both for parent and kid. Where lies the wretchedness?
It is Time. A study on reading at home using a parent apprenticeship program showed the willingness of parents but also indicated as main trouble in keeping up the reading schedule a lack of time. There were also signs of inadequacy of pedagogy (children who became stressed by overly corrective guidance) but the main concern was having not sufficient opportunity to read together.
Who is to blame? A blog like this is hardly a punitive spot to regulate parental behavior but the excuse of lack of time is just a way of setting priorities erroneously; as if you are saying: reading at home comes down on my list. At such a moment the ‘joy forever’ argument comes in – it really pays off to engage in reading together (3). Once in place reading together may ignite all kinds of great pedagogies between parent and child: making flipbooks, story imaging, and making fantasy scripts. And so on.
Nancy Flanagan Knapp (2016) Reading Together: A Summer Family Reading Apprenticeship Program for Delayed and Novice Readers, Literacy Research and Instruction, 55:1, 48-66, To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19388071.2015.1099767