A walk in the Bossley Park

Blog of Kip McGrath Bossley Park


July 16
by bossleypark 16. July 2014 12:51

Most adults would agree that reading is one of the most important skills that children need to learn to be able to "survive" in the world as an adult. There is not a day that goes by in our everyday lives that do not require us to be able to do some form of reading, yet when I speak to students they do not see the importance of this skill.

One afternoon, I was discussing with a group about why we need to be able to read, when a student said to me "Karen, I don't think reading is important because we don't do much of it anymore because we have more we can do like play X-Box, IPODS , watch TV and go on the computer". I smiled and said to this student "So you haven't had to read anything all day today?". The student replied with NO and I could see that they generally believed they hadn’t read anything. I asked the student to write down everything that they had done in the past 24 hours, and then we could talk about it. After about 5 minutes of going through the list, the student realised that they had actually spent most of the day reading.

This was a break through moment for this student, as they had considered reading as sitting down with a novel. I also understand that this is not a realist expectation with the use of IPADs and the huge change that has come with the technological age. So why is reading important? There are many reasons but my top 5 are:

1. It is a vital part of today's society -  Following a map, reading the instructions to be able to cook dinner or take medicine as per the instructions on the bottle and completing forms. This names only a few of our everyday tasks which requires reading and we can also understand the severe consequences if we are unable to read.

2. Knowledge - By reading we are introducing ourselves to new information. Again this reading does not always have to be in a book, it could be online, newspapers or magazines. All of these require us to read and interpret the information being provided.

3. Imagination and creativity - Part of reading is interpreting, as a result we can all create different images from the text we read. This is an exciting way to develop children's imagination and creativity.

4. Builds self confidence - Reading is a skill. If you do not have the ability to read fluently, accurately and with a sound understanding then you will struggle at school and in life in general. This leaves you with a poor opinion of yourself and hence a lack of confidence. This in turn will affect your actions and your future.

5. Makes learning difficult - Poor reading skills does not just affect a student’s English results, it will affect all subject areas including mathematics. All subject areas require students to be able to read and interpret text.

Many times I have had student brought to my centre, as the parents are convinced that they have a problem with mathematics. I always ask if I can complete a full assessment and quite often I will discover that the student has poor reading and comprehension skills. This directly affects the student’s ability to read and understand what a question is asking them to do. I have had a number of students who are on a reading program tell me how much better their math results are getting.


Early intervention for students who are experiencing difficulties, is always the best approach. Don't just wait and see if their reading improves because research has shown that it is very difficult to catch up on ideas and concepts which are taught in the early years.




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