Books are so special, they are unique, they open up new worlds, they feed the brain with new information, they inspire and inform, they give power and meaning to new events and artefacts – books are needed! And by books, I do especially mean actual physical books that you can pick up and smell (am I the only one?)
I love reading. I love reading to children. I love teaching children to read: to appreciate and respect books as I did when I was young and how my daughter did and still does too. A bedtime story has to be a parent’s favourite time of day (for more than one reason…) and I can recall through nostalgic tears, the tragic day when I wasn’t needed for this precious task anymore….
Children should be surrounded by as many books as possible. A wide range of books: Different sizes, fonts, pictures, cultures, shapes, languages, eras…… just bombard them with books, books and more books – but don’t forget to read them aloud too.
There are so many amazing resources for KS2 WCR; my favourites being Ashley Booth, FRED and The Literacy Shed who have all inspired me to use WCR over the last two years in my R/Year one Class. Some influencers don’t tend to mention WCR in KS1. Some say that individual reading is more important at this stage of their reading development – This got me thinking. Is this true? Are there facts to prove this? How DO children learn to read and what are the best tips and activities to promote reading? In a generation of digital media and electrical devices and gaming etc…. can we inspire a true passion for reading amongst primary aged children of all ages, even the youngest and just what is involved in doing so effectively?
In my humble opinion – Yes! You can do WCR with Year one. Yes, of course some of them are still learning the ropes and have their ‘reading stabilisers’ on – BUT yes – devoting half an hour per day to a WCR session IS beneficial. Reading and sharing books in any capacity has to be GOOD! I also want to mention here that of course, reading ‘passions’ stem from the home environment! If parents read to their children then surely children become better readers themselves.
So what happens to children who are not read to daily at home? Those that don’t have a bookshelf of favourites in their bedrooms? That’s when I want to step in and recreate that time as best I can. Sitting there reading one on one while they tackle a Biff and Kipper book (no offence as these are great for practising reading) is probably not going to make them love reading!? They need to have reading modelled to them! They need to see that reading is an essential skill that will help them with their future success…….
So what is potentially going to ignite that reading flame?
Hopefully, me, my amazing TAs and the classroom atmosphere that we create for the children. Hopefully, the books that we carefully select that open up new worlds and teach them about new cultures and familiar and exciting themes. Hopefully, us as influencers using exciting props, pictures and puppets and also staff reading aloud (in a wide variety of silly voices and accents) and bringing the story alive before we ask the children some carefully planned questions (open and closed) to see what they think and know and to predict what they think could happen next. Hopefully, me who can convey my own passion for picking up a good book and reading it cover to cover and closing said cover with the same emotion as leaving your favourite holiday destination – ‘ohhhhh I don’t want it to end yet!’
So yes! Take the plunge! Do WCR with Year one. You can still include some assessments along the way and any available LSA can sit with a small group that may need support or challenge. But yes! If you love reading then your passion will come across to the children. They will be excited to go home and share the new stories with their parents and siblings. They may ask for a new book for a birthday present. They may just love reading a little more now…. Because of WCR and because you have quite rightly placed the skill and function of reading on it’s well deserved pedestal!
Let them reach for the stars Never underestimate