In this essay I will address the importance of reading in a classroom setting and how teachers can engage learners and enable them to develop their knowledge and skills in reading. It is important that teachers allocate time for learners to encounter reading in its two forms, fiction and non-fiction, therefore I will address both of these forms and how both enable children to develop knowledge and skills.
Throughout my time in education, I have found that fiction is the most common form of text used in a primary schools as it is presented in many forms, including stories, pictures and poems. Fiction is considered important as it is a way of teaching phonic rules, specific words and spelling conventions. It also allows learners to develop analytical skills and inspires their imagination and creativity. Singer (1981) makes a critical link between how much children are exposed to reading and the development of their imagination, he says that, “children who have been exposed to a considerable amount of reading by parents show increased imaginativeness.” This argument has been developed further by University of Warwick who have carried out studies about the effect of parental involvement and the home learning environment on literacy. The results of the studies have shown that “children’s literacy levels are strongly linked to the education levels of their parents,” and that if a child’s mother read for her own enjoyment everyday then the odds of that child being rated below average in reading was reduced by 85%. (Hartas, 2012)
Teachers can help their pupils develop readings skills by setting a side a time each day to read to them and by setting up a classroom library. (Neuman, 2001) Through setting up a classroom library the teacher acts as facilitators by supplying the learners with a range of texts including fiction and non-fiction. It is specifically important that the library contains a assortment of books as children need to be brought into contact with a variety of language, genres, topics and perspectives. (McGee & Richagels, 1996) I think that introducing children to different types of fiction is particularly important as it help children tackle subjects that they might otherwise not be able to handle. For example as a teacher I may notice that one of my pupils is upset because their parents are getting divorced. As this is a sensitive issue, I could perhaps point out a book in the library that deals with the subject of divorce, for example “The Suitcase Kid” by Jacqueline Wilson. It is therefore the responsibility of the teacher to have their own mental library of books that they can use for different situations. Chambers 1993, suggests that primary teachers should be familiar with around 500 texts if they are to “function satisfactorily.”
However there is much more to reading than simply “eyes on the page”, equally, if not more importance is the thought process before and after reading the text. (Wray and Lewis, 1997). Reading is a...