This BBC article below is interesting, especially for anyone with sons. Books in this house are read every day, not because we have 'reading hour' or 'book corner time' or any other prescribed form of learning, but because our boys will come up to us at any time of the day and ask to be read to. Neither do we 'teach' our boys how to read, instead we will sit them on our lap and read to them, answering any questions about the letters or words as they are asked. When they are bored of reading they will go off and play with their toys, watch a bit of TV or whatever they feel like doing. It is this laid back approach that I feel has resulted in Joseph wanting to learn about letters. He spots 'J' and says 'that's J for Joseph' and spots 'ch' and says 'thats 'ch' like Charlie'.
Joseph loves silly books; any references to poo or pants is always a winner. Callum likes pictures, be it kids book with pictures of apples or cars or my large hardback of 20th century war planes (yes I'm a bit of a nerd!). Charlie loves short story books and will happily sit and listen over and over again to different stories and never get bored.
I can't help but wonder how forcing children to read set books, at set a time with a view to always reaching the next level can be useful. It certainly isn't useful for boys who probably just want to run around outside and have fun. I for one will be at work whilst the Sun is shining outside longing to be out on the beach, getting some fresh air rather than sitting in my car on the motorway, why would my boys be any different??
All that said, I should like to point out that this isn't the fault of teachers. Far from it, I'm sure any teacher would want to see their pupils progress. The problem comes when you try to measure that success. The government gives money to schools and has an obligation to ensure it is being put to good use. How do they do this, or rather how can they do this without making reading boring? How can this ever be done in schools between 9 and 3 with all those other lessons being squeezed in? I would love to answer this question but I cant, I simply don't have an answer.
The answer for my family is to allow our children to learn at home. The home where they can play outside on mud, even when its raining. The home where we (nearly) always have time to read books when asked. The home where lunch is when the boys are hungry, not at designated times. Writing is when Joseph scribbles his name on the wall and blames his brothers. Science is learning that the orange bowling ball is lighter than the pink one. Maths is that if I knock down 8 pins, there are now two pins remaining. And that sods law is that the two pins will be the two furthest apart and that the bowling ball will sail straight down the middle!