Is Time an Important Factor in Children’s Literacy?

Jen Robinson’s Book Page has regular posts on improving children’s literacy in which she highlights efforts by those concerned about reluctant readers. She calls them Children’s Literacy Round-up. Her posts Helping Kids Learn to Enjoy Reading and Ten Tips for Growing Bookworms are comprehensive lists of actions to take to help new, reluctant, or struggling readers. Because reading is so much a part of my life and education, it is a subject I think about often as well. I cannot even imagine being able to teach my kids without their willingness to read.

I was thinking recently about a factor that is maybe not usually considered regarding children not reading. Time. How much time does the student have to himself/herself? So many children have packed schedules (from young ages) with several organized activities through the week. Do they have time to relax, think quietly, and create on their own? After a busy day, unwinding is necessary before it is possible to focus on reading. I know I sometimes have difficulty with this myself. Sometimes it is also preferable to have time to think or create, instead of reading, since these are important outlets. Do they have time to talk about things with family members? With both parents working and the running around that people do in order to not miss out on opportunities, are they missing out on crucial conversation which builds both language and thinking skills? I think it is important for adults to remember that, just as we have difficulty finding time for everything in our lives, children cannot do everything that they have an opportunity to do either. Choices need to be made of what is most desired-and sometimes reevaluated. There needs to be some flexibility in their days, so that they will feel like reading will not take away from other things they want to do or their relaxation time.

4 Responses to “Is Time an Important Factor in Children’s Literacy?”

  1. Jen Robinson Says:

    I think that you make an excellent point. I have seen time used as part of the argument against letting kids watch television. Simply put, if they spend a lot of time watching TV, they don’t have as much time to spend reading. But I think that you raise a larger point, about the overscheduling of many kids, and the fact that to truly love reading, you have to be able to be immersed in it sometimes. Also, I think that if the parents are that busy running around, they don’t have time to read themselves, and thus don’t model the importance of reading.

    Anyway, thanks for making me think this morning, and for linking to my posts.

  2. minerva66 Says:

    Jen, you are welcome. They are excellent and comprehensively address the problems with reading.

    I don’t know if I am lucky that I have 3 kids who love to read or if it is because I have put so much effort into making sure they have the resources. As homeschoolers we also do have much more time than the average family to be ourselves, to do something creative, to just think about things, to be in nature, and to read. We only do a few scheduled activities, and some of those are not weekly. We have certain days that we spend the whole day away from home, but if I don’t have time for myself at home then I become grumpy. So to schedule kids all week long besides school with maybe 1 free day is very difficult for them.

    Since I have been a stay at home mom, I have seen the pace of life increase continuously. I don’t think it is healthy. I don’t want to live that way myself, and I do think people become grouchy and even angry out of the frustration of trying to keep up.

    One of the things that I like about the book Tanglewreck by Jeanette Winterson is that it alludes to this hectic pace.

  3. Jen Robinson Says:

    Oh how much I agree with: “I don’t want to live that way myself, and I do think people become grouchy and even angry out of the frustration of trying to keep up.” I have to travel a fair bit, for work and personal obligations (our entire family being 3000 miles away), and I get really burned out when I don’t have enough time to just do my own thing at home. And I look back on my own childhood, and how much time there was to just read and play with the neighbors, and I’m sad for kids who don’t have that.

  4. minerva66 Says:

    We also live away from family. My family is in TX and my husband’s is in NY mostly. We haven’t had a vacation just for ourselves since having kids. And now traveling is no longer affordable for us. Not even for family.

    My family also did lots of playing in the neighborhood. I miss that. We are rural now, but even when we lived in a neighborhood, we would go walking and not see people playing outside. To me it is really sad. Kids nowadays have more event opportunities than we had, but I think they are missing out on more than what they have gained. It’s not a peaceful existence, and I think our people as a whole are less creative because they are expected to all do the same structured things. This is also related to the “standard” education and testing which I also believe is not the best framework. It may be great for corporate nonthinking workers, but not so great for people.

RSS Add to Stumble It! Add to Technorati Favorites
Email Updates
Kickstart Reading/50+ Transitional Books
Horizons Transitional Books
Horizons Transitional Books
BookAdvice Crosswords
Follow minerva66 at Twitter
Knock Your Socks Off Challenge

Recent NTugo Network Posts

    ©2006-2016 Advice, banner, and coding help given by Redwall_hp. Established May 2006.