Saturday, 5 July 2014

How We Kept Reading in the Holidays

Since she first brought a book home from school, I started to do what I *promised* myself I wouldn't do and started worrying about Abigail's reading. She just didn't want to do it and at times would fight me tooth and bone rather than look at a book. Trips to the library stopped, bedtime stories stopped and the only saving grace was that she would listen to the CDs that come with our Barefoot Books. Lucky her that I'm a Barefoot Ambassador then!

So this summer I have decided to really stop with all the trying and have a more relaxed three prong plan. I like things that come in threes. My first idea was just to read books aloud whether anyone was listening or not. Emily is usually pretty quick to come listen, and Abigail has been snuggling in too (she sometimes has a listen when she thinks I'm not looking too). Over this year reading has lost it's fun, so that's the first thing we need to get back. 

The second prong in my fork (I know, I need better metaphors) is heading down to the library to get us booked into the summer reading scheme that Libraries NI is running. It fell a little flat for us last year when the library closed for most of the summer, but we did get a shiny new library out of it for this summer which means there are lovely new sofas to relax on and choose your books.This year's theme is the Mythical Maze, and you just call into your local library to join.


Lastly, we're using Abigail's love of all things gaming to make reading fun. I heard about a website called Reading Eggs from people in the HE community, we logged on and we are all loving it (even Emily, who is only 3). It's a game based reading tool which so far has been enjoyed by both girls. Abigail already had good mouse skills, but Emily has picked it up really easily. Some games as too fast for her, but she is only 3 and it's helping her patience and persistance too. What has really impressed me has been the range of reading materials. We've spent the last 2 years with the same books coming home over and over but Reading Eggs has plenty of variety, including fact books, which interest Abigail the most. Some of the books have fairly long sentences built out of simple words, which is great because A's comprehension is far above her reading level and they hold her interest much better. If it interests you, they have a free two-week trial so you can see if iy works for you.

The results? It's early days, but I can see a change already. Abigail is actually starting to see a value to being able to read and has decided it's something she WANTS to be able to do. And now that she wants to learn, well... I'm not sure there will be any stopping her. 

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