Growing Up in Ireland Report outlines what teachers have known for years

Taking an interest in child’s reading habits at home can improve literacy levels.

Commenting on the Growing Up in Ireland – ‘Influences on 9-Year-Olds’ Learning: Home, School and Community’ Report launched yesterday, Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, said parents have a significant role to play in increasing literacy levels in children.

“Over the last 10 years, numeracy and literacy levels in our children have dropped significantly; a fact clearly borne out by successive Pupil International Student Assessment (PISA) Reports.

“While there is a need to closely examine how our children are being taught in classrooms, focusing on goal setting and progressing students’ learning, there is a considerable amount to be gained if parents take the time to encourage reading in the home and to nurture their child’s learning skills.

“This report found that while literacy skills are, by and large, initially developed in school, these skills can be reinforced by reading outside school, either with parents or independently. It found that less than half (47%) of nine year olds had read something with their parents in the last week and that the children who read with their parents reaped the rewards as they reported a higher frequency of reading for pleasure.*

“It was also found that children who read at home, unsurprisingly, do better in school than the children who sit in front of the telly all day.

“In my experience as a primary school teacher, I have found that generally people want what is best for their children but are sometimes constrained in delivering that objective. This Government is funding a new Literacy and Numeracy Programme and this month the first children’s citywide reading project was launched in Dublin by Dublin City Libraries and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature to encourage 4th and 5th class students to read and to have fun doing so.

“Taking an active part in a child’s after school activity and taking the time to read with your child could improve his or her learning capacity, and ultimately their opportunities down the line, dramatically. Every parent in the country should be encouraged to do just that.”
*76% of those who read with their parents read for fun at least a few times a week compared with 67% of those who did not read with their parents. –

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