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How do you get parents to read with their kids at home?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by ukchicken, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. ukchicken

    ukchicken New commenter

    We're trying to get rid of our Reading Record system (those little books that every child takes home in their book bags to record when they have read at school and at home). It's a lot of work for teachers writing comments in 6 books and doesn't seem to encourage parents to do likewise.

    How can we persuade, encourage, cajole parents to read regularly with their children? What has worked for you? Reading mornings? Certificates and rewards? Naming and shaming?!

    Please share. We are an infant school.
  2. GARDEN24

    GARDEN24 New commenter

    It's a never ending task! We are trying raffle tickets if they read at home at the present. Each week they draw out a boy and a girl and they get a prize out of the prize box. Worked well for a week or two but then it lost it's motivation. One child told me his schedule at home was too busy to fit in reading, (year 1)
  3. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    It is almost impossible.
    I also think the reading record books are pointless. Children should be reading real books.
    We had a reading cafe in school, so we knew that children were reading daily.
    natalieinskip likes this.
  4. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Just because they're not writing in the reading record doesn't necessarily mean they're not reading. Conscientious parents will make sure they do both, others will manage the reading but forget about the writing, and others will do neither.

    I'm in a small school where parents drop their children off directly to the teacher. In KS1 we have a sticker chart by the door and on arrival, the adult tells the teacher whether the child has read at home that evening/morning, and the child receives a sticker for the chart if the answer is yes. The children have a weekly and monthly target number of stickers, and receive house points if they reach the target. It's fairly easy to manage and motivates some children, and also gives parents a way to encourage a reluctant child, but of course not all engage with it. We also give stickers for reading in school, so those children who don't get support at home don't end up with nothing.
    natalieinskip likes this.
  5. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    I've never found anything that works with everyone. Stars and stickers will motivate some children and make them hassle their parents to read with them but some parents just never find the time. There are also some parents who have poor literacy skills themselves or don't have a great command of English (EAL) and so may not feel confident supporting their child with reading and may feel particularly anxious about writing comments in a reading record.
  6. ABCCBA123321

    ABCCBA123321 Occasional commenter

    Make it too heavy handed and you'll just alienate parents, and stress out those kids who actually are those you're aiming at it at the LEAST usually. I think the reading records are an utter pain in the neck and think there's a strong case for reformatting them and removing the "comments" section as it's daunting for a lot of parents and just making it something like a tick or initial box with an optional feedback section or home-school communication section on the page instead... I know loads of the parents at our school DO read but don't fill in the record, or can't think of anything to write in the record (particularly when they're doing shorter books to start and you can't fall back on "page 1-5" or whatever), especially if they're not the most literate of families themselves.

    Then you have the other parents who think they need to write an essay justifying why Jemima didn't read on Friday 3 weeks ago as she had ballet and Esperanto class and was a bit tired.

    My issue with when schools really try to incentivize it too much is that it can get kids quite stressed out if they're from an unsupportive background, or just kids who get excessively worried about following all the rules (one of my kids is very like this in nature and got really panicked when spelling books came home that she absolutely MUST do these every single night and needed to explain to the teacher if she didn't and was really really concerned about it the poor thing!)
  7. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Although obviously the ideal might be that children read with parents every night, is it better to avoid that being checked up on explicitly, so that parents/children feel less of a failure if they don't manage it? Where it's a case of struggling to fit things in, probably the key thing is for parents to find a regular slots that do work. Better to fit in good reading slots a couple of weekdays and at the weekend, than to struggle to fit in a few minutes with a tired child who was at after-school club until 6pm.

    I'm very glad that I was never made to fill in reading diaries, even though we did plenty, and with only one child, it wouldn't have been as onerous as with more than one. (We were supposed to one year, but I asked the teacher if we really needed to and she said no - she and I both knew that my child was reading lots, and that was what mattered.)

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