When children see an adult engrossed in a book it conveys a positive message about the act of reading. This week, Emma identifies this as one influencer in establishing effective reading habits in children.
I was talking recently with a friend about the habits (quirky and otherwise) that we form over time. We found we had some similar habits, and some that were amusing to the other! I did some reading about forming habits, and, as you would expect, habits form when you repeat a routine over and over. And for this to happen, one needs some sort of motivator to get the ball rolling.
This also suggests habits can be intentionally formed. And unintentionally formed.
For me, improving habits associated with good sleep and exercise have been a high priority of late. Amongst other factors, choosing the right music or podcast has been key to building, and maintaining, enthusiasm towards exercise. The same can be said for reading and sleep. A really engaging book, and a solid routine around that, has led to improved quality of sleep. The associated routines to further support this, can also promote wonderful new habits. A fitting example is to always carry a book (or a kindle in my case) for those times when you are out, and lucky enough to find yourself with 5 minutes to spare.
Frederick Backman’s plot lines and character development have contributed to my renewed routines, thus rejuvenating my own reading habits. Would less engaging texts achieve the same level of commitment to a new routine? I very much doubt it!
Schools are highly structured places – an ordinary school day is based on a series of routines. If we know that these routines can be habit-forming, we have a responsibility as parents and as educators to ensure that the good ones (habits that is!) are lasting.
Group mentality cannot be overlooked as a tool to support the formation of lasting habits. A ‘goodreads’ approach to classroom reading programs, where children are recommending texts to each other, can also be incredibly powerful. As can role modelling good habits ourselves, reading and otherwise. I would go as far as to say that role modelling is one of the most powerful teaching tools available.
To build strong and lasting reading habits, we can support young readers by:
- Creating engaging reading environments;
- Ensuring access to high quality reading material readily;
- Providing a variety of daily reading opportunities and structures;
- Empowering the broader group as motivators and supporters of each other as readers; and
- Role modelling our reading habits to create lasting, positive reading habits.
Maybe as educators we just need to make a habit out of making habits?
Deputy Head of Junior School - Wellbeing | Teacher