Reading with a child is the best way to foster literacy skills, but not every one is eager to do so, and it takes some parents outside their comfort zone.
Some parents have anxiety about making mistakes. Others are overzealous, and worried about moving on to more difficult books.
Come Read with Me is a new series of one-off workshops for parents of young children, to help them feel more comfortable reading with their children.
“Come Read with Me is a new program for us, that we’re just launching,” said Elaine Yamamoto of the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows/Katzie Literacy Committee, adding that the workshops will continue into the new year.
“It’s all about introducing the joy of reading to young readers.”
Melissa Affleck introduced the program to parents and children in the library of Eric Langton elementary on Thursday afternoon. She is the SD42 district helping teacher for early learning and literacy.
“It is giving parents the tools to build a joy of reading in their kids,” she said.
It is a program offered through a collaboration between the Fraser Valley Regional Library, the literacy committee and School District No. 42.
Come Read with Me offers tips on the mechanics of reading, and emphasizes reading together, for pleasure.
Affleck acknowledged that some children are reluctant readers. Many boys would rather be playing a video game.
“A huge part of it is finding things that they’re interested in,” she said.
She advised parents to let children choose their own books, consider more non-fiction materials for boys – and she noted that there are books about video games they can find at the library.
If boys are reluctant to read, then parents should read to them.
“Reading aloud is still a really valuable strategy,” she said, noting that kids will develop a strong sense of story, and it should be fun.
She said games can be another way to encourage children to read – whether it is a Chance card in Monopoly or a suspect card in Clue.
“Try to provide a lot of different opportunities to engage in text.”
And, she said the library system has incredible digital resources that can be used, including stories that a device can read to child.
More schools will be coming on board with Come Read with Me. The Maple Ridge Library will also host library-based workshops, and the literacy committee will work with community organizations to offer the workshops in existing programs.
“We are so excited at the level of community interest with this project,” said Lynne Easton, chair of the literacy committee.