My teenage son reads every day but given the choice, he would rather read “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” over and over again. It seems as if reading is work for him so he chooses easy books to read instead. Nothing wrong with that but this article got me thinking and worrying. It highlights that teenagers are selecting “easier reads” when choosing books rather than more challenging classics. As a consequence they are seriously struggling with English.
I’ve noticed a lack of quality reading in my students too. Read more, read every day, read challenging books, read, read, read…This is a mantra I teach my students to help them become competent readers and writers. You can tell if a child is a keen reader from their writing. Reading helps with imagination and flare and children are more aware of literary devices. Children who don’t read enough often have writing which is “wooden” and doesn’t flow. There is a lack of vivid vocabulary, poor sentence structure and it fails to keep the reader interested.
So to encourage my students to read, I have introduced an extended reading programme at my centre for all pupils on our english programmes. This is a list of recommended authors and their books which are literary classics. All the authors on the list have won prizes for their books and are likely to be used by schools on their reading lists. Children aim to read at least 6 books a year and after each book they have to do an extended writing task. This could be something as simple as summarising the book or ceating an alternative book cover. The idea is that it makes the student think deeply about the book. The activities also tie in with the national curriculum and provide an oppportunity to do a longer piece of writing.
The reading lists are for year 1 to year 9 and roughly arranged according to the reading age. Just let your child choose the book they want to read.