Discovering the fun in reading

Rockhampton Grammar School Year 2 teacher Mrs Linda Irwin is the energy behind the RGS Book Week celebrations. Mrs Irwin shared her insights into why Book Week is so much more than having fun dressing up:

“Oh! The Places you Will Go!”

Dr Seuss has it right when you put this well-known slogan together with reading books.

Books offer children, and adults for that matter, a safe haven when they are bored, lonely or exhausted with everyday life. Who hasn’t been lost in an enthralling tale of intrigue, mystery or misery via a book and wiled away hours of time on their holidays or late into the night? Children need to experience the excitement, the sadness, the frustration and the happiness of a character as they read books. Books can take you to a myriad of worlds where it is not practical or realistic to attend in person. Books can teach, entertain, encourage empathy, trigger the imagination and lull you to sleep.

Watching the faces of children being read to by a loving adult, curled up in the same armchair or snuggled up in bed together, is magical to see. Laughing hysterically at a funny tale or cheering for the ‘good guy’ in a superhero story or sobbing when things don’t work out for the little dog caught in war torn Gallipoli are the reasons children should learn to read books.

Now it’s not easy for some of them. They struggle to remember their sounds, know their sight words, blend single sounds together, use their reading strategies and understand what’s on the page but when it does come together, it is a revelation for that child. Being able to read fluently and make meaning from the text on the page, is simply a joy and as a primary school teacher, when this moment happens, it is an absolute reminder of why we all come to work at schools across the nation.

So why bother with Book Week? Because reading should be fun. It should be colourful and noisy and exciting. These kinds of celebrations are rich experiences that children will remember for the rest of their lives. Being read to by a guest reader in a funny costume, using a variety of character voices stirs the imagination of a child. Learning about authors and writing styles and what their favourite adult’s children’s book is, is all part of the learning that books are cool and interesting and can spark an imagination to try different experiences, foods, countries, sports or ways of thinking.

Book Week celebrations over the past three years here at RGS Primary have focused us all on the need to keep books alive in the minds of children. Let kids’ imaginations run wild with a book! You never know where they might go!"