Recently a student presented me with a delightful book about a father and his daughter’s ‘reading streak’ – a commitment to read aloud together each evening for one thousand days. This novel served as a wonderful reminder of the importance of building a strong relationship with your child. In The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma, her father discovered that jointly reading together provided him with a special vehicle for this relationship to flourish.
Initiating a ‘reading streak’ of your own, might be fun way to set up your own challenge. Why not set aside about fifteen minutes each day to read to your child(ren) for a week, or even for the remainder of the summer!
The benefits are numerous and long lasting:
- The shared closeness when reading aloud together builds strong bonds, and creates a common language of experiences through the stories read.
- Reading expands the child’s oral language, stimulates their imagination, and creates shared memories.
- Specific books can be selected to address or reinforce particular family values (integrity, honesty, gratitude, respect, responsibility), or provide support to a young child by reading narratives about others who dealt with special challenges like bullying, sibling rivalry, family discord, illness or even the loss of a pet.
- Spending daily quality reading time with your child demonstrates clearly that you care enough about them to spend time together on a consistent basis.
- Prioritizing your daily reading time together expresses your love of being, and interacting with your child, through this gift of your undivided attention.
As an educator, experiencing the richness of written language provides many advantages – benefits of improved vocabulary, the reinforcement of new sight words, the opportunity to imagine ‘what if’, as well as the opportunity to just be silly, to giggle, or even shed a tear or two over the antics of the storybook characters. All of this places a high value on the pleasure which can be enjoyed in the shared reading process and in exploring good literature.
Choosing suitable books is easier than ever. Your local librarian can be a great resource in helping you locate popular books or critically acclaimed literature to suit various themes or specific topics at an appropriate reading level. Book stores are fun to explore, and the clerks can assist you and your child in the selection process. Garage sales, neighbours, and friends are also great resources for interesting or unusual books, and people are often most willing to share their own book favourites, sparking fond memories of their own reading adventures.
Why not tap into the richness of shared reading experiences with your child this summer and initiate a daily reading routine? If you and your reading partner find that you both enjoy the experience, it might be a fun challenge to set up your own ‘Reading Streak’! Set a joint goal of a week, or aim for the start up of school, or maybe even set a longer term objective!
Who knows, maybe you and your child might find other unexpected rewards in this shared experience, resulting in many special moments and wonderful memories you both will cherish.
With so many of today’s ‘tech toys’ being so insular and isolating, joint reading can go a long way to providing those missing elements of family togetherness, strong values and bonding.
Linda Sweet M.S. Ed.
Founder and Director, Glenburnie School
Preschool to Grade 8
Providing a progressive and innovative private school education