1 year ago

Education | ED03 | Summer 2016

A Wealden Times Magazine


OUTSTANDING! Kindergarten & Early Years Treasured memories, inspiring futures Independent Preparatory School for Boys & Girls aged 3 -11 Bricklehurst Manor School & Kindergarten Bardown Road, Stonegate, Wadhurst, East Sussex, TN5 7EL Tel: 01580 200 448 Follow us on facebook @Bricklehurst Free to learn 01580 240642 / 07926 380434 Mr Noah’s Nursery School BricklehurstManorED03.indd 1 10/05/2016 MrNoahsNurserySchoolED03.indd 11:14 1 03/05/2016 11:10 ealden Times_MAY_2016.indd 2 10/05/2016 08:23 Sackville School An independent school for boys and girls 11-18 THEIR CHANCE TO SHINE Would your child benefit from individualised learning? With small classes and a welcoming environment you can be confident that your child will quickly settle into the Sackville family Sackville is part of the Cognita Schools Group Students usually join us in Year 7, 9 or 12, however, we also consider applications for entry at other times Call now to find out more T: 01732 838 888 W: Tonbridge Road, Hildenborough, Kent TN11 9HN 24 SackvilleSchoolED03.indd 1 22/04/2016 14:42

Sponsored by Tunbridge Wells Developing a life-long love of books Despite all the digital options available to children these days, it’s still possible to instill a love of reading, says John Graham-Hart Credit: Dulwich Prep When I was a child, I loved reading. It was escape, entertainment, adventure and a way of finding out things about what really interested me that day. Its only competition for my attention was sport and Children’s Hour. However, this, as my sons so sensitively point out, was shortly after the expiration of the last pterosaur and times have changed, changed utterly. For today’s child, digital media meet all the above requirements and, by and large, in a far more exciting and accessible way. Today, a child doesn’t merely read a story but can become part of it, play the lead role and personally affect twists and turns in the plot. Where I read words and looked at pictures of pyramids, they are able to take virtual reality tours of their passages and chambers. Never has reading had so much and such serious competition. However, the latest trends in book sales for books in the UK tell a very interesting and truly extraordinary story. Yes, sales of books continue to decline almost across the genre board – except, that is, in one very significant area – children’s books. Sales of both children’s fiction and non-fiction are on the rise – particularly the latter which is growing, year on year, by a whopping 35 per cent. The message is clear – the choice of popular fiction and non-fiction has never been greater. So, how do we encourage children to take full advantage of this new literary cornucopia? How do we encourage them to read? According to Kathryn Bender, Head of Nursery and pre-prep at Saint Ronan’s School near Hawkhurst, it’s a matter of engagement. She stresses that an experienced reader reading to children will have them captivated and engrossed in the story and this, in turn, will lead to their wanting to read for themselves. “Children love the pictures and feel of books and the familiarity of re-reading much-loved stories,” she says. “My class once wrote to Roald Dahl and he wrote back, ‘If when you are young you read just one book that is so funny and exciting that you fall in love with it then there is a good chance that this little love affair with a single book will convince you that reading is terrific fun.’” Saint Ronan’s Deputy Head, Matthew Brian, stresses that the teaching of reading and phonics has developed enormously since parents were learning and it’s always worth talking to teachers about the way in which children learn at school. “What is essential is to prioritise reading and make it a daily event wherever possible,” he says. “The reinforcement at home will make everything come together more quickly in the early days. “Just as children want to take their birthday present and play with their parents – not be left by themselves with only their imagination for company – so with reading it needs to be a shared experience. Laughing together, being excited about what comes next – these are bonding opportunities not to be missed,” says Matthew. Fiona Booth, Librarian at Dulwich Prep, near Cranbrook, notes that if there is one technological change that she would highlight as being a very positive influence on children’s reading, it would be the ability to download audiobooks. “All children can listen to stories that challenge them beyond their reading ability and listening can foster a love of stories,” she says. “Audiobooks are the next best thing to a parent who is prepared endlessly to read aloud.” She stresses that developing a love of reading is vital. “According to UNESCO, the biggest single indicator of whether a child is going to thrive at school and in work is whether or not that child reads for pleasure,” she says. “Reading fiction enables children to imagine and identify with lives and situations beyond the boundaries of their own experience. It is both a relaxing escape from a demanding world and a means by which the growing child can determine what sort of person they are and want to be,” she says. 25