True story. As a kid, I was a voracious reader. That love of words and stories quickly translated into strong reading and writing skills and, naturally, success in the classroom.
But Rob, a neighbour of mine who was a grade below me, was not so lucky.
Rob didn’t read (or write) for pleasure, as I did. In fact, his reading skills were below grade level. (It’s amazing the things you hear when you eavesdrop on mothers’ conversations…but perhaps that’s a story for another day!)
In any case, Rob was struggling at school.
So one day, my clever mother snagged a copy of The Hockey News from one of my brothers and dropped it off at Rob’s house. If you’re familiar with this publication you’ll know that it’s full of hockey-related lists, statistics, reports, stories and news in all sorts of forms.
Guess what? Over the course of that winter, Rob the non-reader began devouring The Hockey News and—surprise, surprise—his mother reported to mine that his reading and writing skills were showing a marked improvement.
The lessons we can take from this story?
If you want kids to read, provide material they’re interested in.
- Experiment. Kids are not “cookie-cutter” readers any more than adults are.
- Kids who read and write for their own entertainment will develop skills needed in the classroom and beyond.
- The Hockey News, comics and graphic novels, game guides—it’s all reading. It all counts.
- Reading should be, first and foremost, fun!