Every year on February 1st, World Read Aloud Day encourages us to pick up a book and share the stories with others in order to foster a love for reading and improve literacy rates. If we don’t cultivate a healthy culture of reading in our homes and schools, our kids will never see the need to either.
From grade 1-3, kids learn to read. From grades 4-12, kids read to learn. Imagine not being able to read what is given to you, therefore failing to understand what is required. We’ve all heard of the shocking SA literacy rates as 78% of grade 4 learners cannot read at an appropriate level, so it’s up to us to make reading cool again.
The benefits of reading for adults:
Reading not only makes your brain more active, but it strengthens already existing connections and helps build new ones. The more you flex those brain muscles, the stronger they get (remember the phrase what you don’t use, you lose?). While reading anything, even tweets, is better than nothing at all, reading more substantial content will increase your vocabulary and language skills, improve concentration and comprehension, and assist with memory retention.
The benefits of reading for kids:
I always encourage reading aloud to your kids until they can read for themselves because it’s such a great way to bond and have much-needed quality time. The benefits really are endless! It also increases their attention span, helps with understanding of concepts as you describe and act out what you’re reading, sparks their imagination and helps build empathy. Every night before bed, we have a 10 min reading session with the pork-chop. He has a wide variety of books as at his 1st birthday, we asked for books instead of presents so we could get his collection going.
We try to change it up every night from poems or short stories, to English and African language books. This is also a great time to reinforce our African languages as they hear so much English at school, that we have to actively work on teaching them ours in the home. I’m glad our government is starting to invest in indigenous languages in our schools at the start of 2018. It’s about time if you ask me!
It has been said that reading for 30 minutes every day will equal to you reading one book a month. If you’re trying to get that reading culture back, I think this is a great place to start. Carrying your book every where also means you’ll use your free moments to catch up on a chapter or two instead of scrolling through your phone, so make space for it in your hand bag.
So tonight, put the phone down, switch off the TV and snuggle up to a good book. Be sure to let me know how it goes and what’s on your reading list this month in the comments below!