As the year begins to settle into a rhythm, the college’s programme of sustained silent reading is once again up and running.
The initiative began last year, initially at form time, then moved to a slot directly after lunch - where it has stayed for 2016. This allows boys to settle quickly back into a good level of focus after lunch, whilst building and building their level of literacy - and crucially - their enjoyment of personal reading.
But, of course, simply making time in the day for boys to hold a book in front of their faces, does not a love of reading create. What’s crucial is that great role models of enthusiastic readers surround our boys - amongst the peers, older boys whom they admire, their teachers - and their parents and carers.
What then, can you do to help? This above all else: talk to your son/charge about their reading material. There is a requirement that every boy has a book in his bag now for SSR - so ask him to show you it - ask him what he thinks about it - perhaps even read it yourself! Additionally, ensuring your son has built in some reading time at home, to reinforce what he is getting at the college, will double the dividend paid.
But what, you ask, do I do when my teenager mumbles something about not having anything good to read? Worry not - Mrs Garry is expert at matching books to boys - send them her way - or get in touch with his English teacher - we’re all book mad and would love to help.
I’m sure you are all well versed in the benefits of reading - but I’ll leave you with two final research findings that sums things up very nicely:
‘Encouraging a child to read and keeping them reading is the single most important thing that can be done to influence positive outcomes in young people’s lives - socially, culturally, educationally and economically.’ (Clark and Rumbold, 2006, cited in English in Aotearoa, 2014).’
And, also for English in Aotearoa: Sullivan and Brown (2013) ‘report a positive influence of 14.4% in vocabulary; 9.9% in mathematics and 8.6% in spelling, in students who read frequently.’
Why wouldn’t we all get behind it?