Reading for fun critical lesson for children's learning

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Education Matters – for sure

An education advocate, Ron Marks has been an outspoken member of local and regional school boards and a former Stellarton mayor. His column runs weekly

"Perhaps the most important thing schools could be doing is to get the message out more clearly to parents that reading at home for pleasure is vital to children's long term success."

This quote from Ontario's 2011 People for Education reports also goes on to say that only "21 per cent of Ontario's Grade 3 students report reading together with a parent or guardian, every day or almost every day."

As parents, grandparents and guardians we need to know that reading for fun at home builds good readers. Schools and teachers need to encourage parents to read with their children for pleasure. One of the challenges for parents and educators is to ingrain a sense of pleasure in reading by providing reading materials that students find interesting and relevant.

People for Education (2011) also reports that "Libraries and teacher-librarians affect students' enjoyment of reading. Research shows that certain school-based factors can have a positive effect on students' enjoyment of reading. School libraries stand out as a largely untapped resource when it comes to building students joy of reading."

Many studies show a relationship between student performance on tests and their access to school librarians and one of the most important studies completed with the help of Queen's University shows that "in schools with teacher-librarians, the students were more likely to report that they 'liked to read.'" In fact, schools with teacher-librarians had reading enjoyment levels considerably higher than the average.

Nova Scotia has a good history of reading results and in general they continue to improve.  As a province we need to continue with this improvement.  I know that the Chignecto Central Regional School Board and our school board members continue to stress reading and writing as keys to success for our students.

As we encourage our children to read for the fun of it, parents and grandparents have a key role. Our children are counting on us. Please help our children read for the fun of it. It will broaden their horizons, help them use their imagination, think creatively, understand humanity and feel more engaged as citizens of the world.

Organizations: Grade 3, Queen's University, Chignecto Central Regional School Board

Geographic location: Ontario, Stellarton, Nova Scotia

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  • Avid Reader
    February 24, 2012 - 07:21

    It is most interesting that Mr. Marks would use research data that points to the importance of school libraries in the development of students' enjoyment of reading. If you believe this Mr. Marks, how could you possibly support the reduction of funds for schools to purchase library books by 40% as CCRSB did last budget year? It is extremely difficult to entice children to read when school librarians can't provide the materials which pique students' interest. The funds schools recieved prior to the 2011 budget had not been increased in about 20 years and library staff were already struggling to provide books that are relevant to students. If you believe what you wrote Mr. Marks, don't just restore funding for library books, increase it.

  • johnny smoke
    February 23, 2012 - 11:34

    According to the Pan Canadian assessment program, they report "Considering confidence intervals the mean score for Nova Scotia students in reading is significantly lower than that of Canadian students overall" Mr Marks likes to point to the statement Nova Scotia has a good history of reading results and in general they continue to improve. As a province we need to continue with this improvement. I know that the Chignecto Central Regional School Board and our school board members continue to stress reading and writing as keys to success for our students. This flies in the face of the P.C.A.P.N report and is obviously for local consumption. This report also states and I quote "Considering confidence levels the mean score for Nova Scotia students in mathematics is significantly lower than that of Canadian students overall. So what do we get for $1.1 billion dollars of education budget? Well according to this unbiased report very little, according to the School boards, whining about budget cut backs,classroom roll backs, a completely slewed insight into the failure of the provincial education system, who its proponents proclaim would be much better if they just had more money to spread around, I would contend that it would be a better system if the item spread around was knowledge, I must be dreaming.