by Amy Barnhill - associate professor of literacy studies at University of Houston-Victoria
In this era of high-stakes testing, it seems we have lost sight of the incredible benefits of reading for pleasure. Students are learning to jump through hoops to get a good grade on a test. While that might be a worthwhile endeavor for some, the purpose for educating is to develop a love of learning. How do we develop this love of learning and reading? Here is where reading for pleasure comes into the picture.
The first step to doing this is giving children access to lots of books. Make frequent trips to the library with your child.
The second step is to allow children to pick their own books. It's OK if the book isn't exactly on the child's reading level. Sometimes, it's fun to read a book that is too easy. Children learn how to relax with a book. And sometimes, it is fun to read a book that is too hard, especially if the child is interested in the topic.
Third, provide time for kids to read these books. At home, model reading for pleasure and taking time to read. Or read before bed while at the pool or on vacation. Invite your child to read with you. You could read a book together or read side by side. Talk about the books you read.