Comments (45)

  1.' Leanne says:

    To be a great reader you must love reading.  I am going to share this blog post with the families of my students so that they can see that don't have to teach their children to read, they just need make reading a fun and enjoyable experience for them. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Thanks Leanne – Excellent point ‘make reading a fun and enjoyable experience’.

  2.' Yvonne Lovelock says:

    Lots of accessible ides for parents to support spreading the "Reading Bug"

      1.' Wendy Hayes says:

        I agree, Rochelle. I have referred to The Reading Bug lots over the years and have lent it to parents and used it many times at parent information meetings. I still have my yellowing copy on hand for easy referral.

        Greenwood Primary School, WA

  3.' Mark Buckland says:

    Great post, Rochelle. This is of course all great advice – we also started reading to our three when they were very young, – it sets a clear routine for them, and they love choosing what story gets read. Our first child loved One Fish Two Fish, our second's favourite was The Gruffalo, while the third loves Daisy, a Thomas the Tank Engine story. Even at 10 and 8, the two oldest still love being read to, despite reading their own books a lot.

    We have found that getting out children excited about a series very motivating, especially for our son – he has read the Percy Jackson series, many of the Hachett books, the Kazaan series, amoung others. After they read one book, they are always deserate to get the next installment.

    Thanks again, Rochelle. I look forward to more posts.


    Ps. Hurupaki Primary School in Whangarei is my school.

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Thanks Mark. We love The Gruffalo in our house and in fact my husband – who is the self nominated birthday cake maker – made The Gruffalo for a  3rd birthday (on request) one year. It was amazing – but then it took quite a few hours….:)

      Good point about a series – you’re so right. Mr 7 loved the Cudweed book he got for Christmas so he sought out new ones at the library; they didn’t have any so he filled out a form to request more (at the fantastic librarians suggestion); a new book arrived a few days ago and he read us 2 chapters last night. 

      Thanks also for nominating Hurupaki Primary School.

  4. And, unlike tablets, books don't need a power adapter. They also make affordable gifts for birthday and Christmas. Your excellent post has evoked many happy memories for me, growing up in a pre-digital age. I'm not knocking digital, it's great, but I do hope we don't forget books. Thanks Rochelle, your post itself was a good read.

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Thanks Stephen. Although I love not having to pack books when I go away – due to having them on my phone – there is nothing like a book at the beach.

  5.' Donna Bell says:

    These are great tips & ideas and we definitely do many of them with our children. Lego is also a big favourite in our house so we have ordered quite a few Lego readers through the school book club – my son loves them and they tie in with what he loves, so definitely encourages his love of reading. 

    On the very rare occasion that we don't read a story before bed (if we've been out late) the kids are horrified, as it such a part of their bedtime routine.

    Welbourn School in New Plymouth would love a copy of this book :-).

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Hi Donna,

      LEGO is a big favourite in ours (apart from when I stand on it). Good tip about the school book club (and it’s thanks to Scholastic we have these to giveaway). I still remember ordering Under the Mountain through the Arrow (? not Lucky?) book club at school. Thanks for nominating a school.

  6.' Anna says:

    Great post. Years since I've seen This is Spinal Tap. Our boy is only 4mths old but we read to him often.  Right now we're reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  He mightn't have any idea what we're talking about but he loves being read to.  We'd love to foster in him a lifelong love of reading.  Going to the library as a child was such a highlight of the week and I look forward so much to bedtime stories with him.  I'd love a copy of The Three Bears Sort of to go to Hampden Primary School so when my lad gets there there'll be a beautifully dog-eared copy for him to enjoy.

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Hi Anna,

      Thanks – I think I saw it when it first came out at the Suter Art Gallery in Nelson, around 25 years ago! Thanks for sharing your stories of reading to your son with us and also for nominating a school – from my home town :)

  7.' Stella Williams says:

    My boys have always been crazy for reading.  We start them off as little as possible with just reading to them.  over the years reading is one of their favourite pass time.  Introducing a Kindle has kept up their enthusiasm as they can can now access nearly any book available.  Plus, it is easy to carry and read from. 

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Hi Stella,

      A kindle is a great idea – especially if you’re off on a trip – I’m going to put it on the Christmas wishlist.

  8.' Ruth says:

    Some great ideas. My two have also had a library card from a very early age. Even though my son finds reading a challenge, he still has a huge love for books and reading (which I am thankful for). We are reading through 'Mudcrats' and 'The Beast quest series' . Our youngest was reciting "We’re going on a bear hunt' by three as it was a household favourite. I still re read and even share with my class picture books as I don't think anyone ever grows out of them.

    I know my class love that I give them a choice when they can read so it isn't always me telling them to read.  Also our trips to the librabry have been seen as important as any other subject. 

    Spreydon Primary

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Hi Ruth,

      Thank you. I love ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ and I agree we often revisit favourite picture books. Good idea about giving children a choice when to read. Thanks also for nominating your school – much appreciated.

  9.' Nicola Paston says:

    I agree with everything you've mentioned.  I have 2 boys aged 4 and 6 who both adore books.  We are constantly maxing out our library card.  I request many books and use Pinterest to get reading recommendations about certain subjects.  For example my youngest is about to start swimming lessons, so have been reading picture books about learning to swim – acts as an icebreaker.  Also if they have a keen interest in something, it can be fueled so easily by books.  When I come across a particularly great book, my son will take it to his school 'Golden Grove' and his teacher is always so excited to read it.  Last term 'The Three Bears, Sort Of' was one of the books he took in.  So it would be lovely for the class to have a copy.

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Hi Nicola,

      Great idea about using Pinterest to get reading recommendations – I’m definitely using that suggestion. I also liked your swimming example as acting as an icebreaker.

      Thanks for nominating your son’s school.

  10.' Tsana Plessius says:

    Hi Rochelle,

    We also, like others who have already posted, have read to our two boys since they were little – hubby used to read to them when they were babies, as part of their bed-time routine and a way for him to bond with them.  They are both now top in their respective classes in reading!  We still have family reading times together in the evenings and some rainy afternoons.  Trips to the libray are a highlight for the boys, and we do participate in the Auckland Library holiday programmes (Auckland Library staff rock!).  Also, visits to Storylines, and the boys sending emails to authors and making contact with them.  Kyle Mewburn recently commented on my son's blog – it made his day!

    One enticement we use to encourage new authors and books to be investigated is delayed gratification – if the boys want to watch the movie of the book, they need to read the book first.  Worked a treat with the C S Lewis series.

    Glenbrae Primary in Glen Innes, Auckland is my school of choice.

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Hi Tsana,

      Thanks for commenting – you’ve given me some great ideas. Visits to Storylines Festival Family Days are a great idea and how cool that Kyle Mewburn commented on your son’s blog! I think I almost know Duck’s Stuck off by heart.

      Great suggestion about the enticement to read the book first. Funnily enough I can’t really watch a movie unless I’ve read the book first and I haven’t watched The World According to Garp as I enjoyed the book so much. Speaking of C.S>lewis – I managed to convince Mr 9 to have a look at The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at our last library visit and it made me realise how the covers of books have chamnged over the years, it was only my assurance it was a good story that convinced his sceptical look (at the cover).

      Great story about your husband reading to your children; my sister-in-law read the same book every night when she was pregnant with her daughter and when she was born that story seemed to calm her down when it was read to her. Thnks also for nominating a school.

  11.' Vicki Hagenaars says:

    Hi Rochelle

    Our children are now in their late teens and still opt to pick up a book on a regular basis.

    Our daughter's New Entrant teacher chuckled when our girl thanked her for teaching her to read and responded that she was so keen to understand the symbols she pretty much taught herself.  She now inhales books at a great rate.

    My son was slower to take to the written word and it took for the appearance of a really amazing  teacher in his schooling to introduce him to Skullduggery Pleasant before he found the worlds hiding in the words.  He now loves Percy Jackson which also feeds his nonfiction passion for Greek Mythology and has a thirst for fantasy and science fiction genres.

    Both children had bookcases chock full of age appropriate books from birth (their 'baby' ones are in storage for their own children).  Our home has 3 bookcases full and, while their Dad is a spasmodic reader usually preferring the Reader's Digest to other material, they have observed me read, digest and read some more since they were little.  This included reading for a wide range of purposes which is also important. 

    As a grown family we have our own 'bookclub' where we share what we are reading with each other and my daughter and I still read the same series, knowing each others tastes well.

    I still have lively Facebook chats with past students about what they are reading – a continuation of the discussions we had when they were part of my classes.  One is currently writing his own book! I love finding new and up-to-date reading material for my students and was particularly fortunate that my last school's librarian also made a point to keep up to date.  She would often have the teachers preread books to check them for appropriate content.  This opened my eyes to new authors whose writing was aimed at my students. The kind of homework I love!

    Great blog which struck a chord with this avid reader :)


    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Hi Vicki,

      I really enjoyed reading your comments. I like your point about the amazing teacher who introduced your son to certain authors. I often find adults who aren’t me are listened to more by my boys about suggestions for books. My husbandsaid on the last library trip one of the librarians ran out to the back room coming back with a book for Mr 7 saying ‘This came in and I thought you’d like it!’. Love it. I have also taken note of the books your son likes as my oldest son goes through them and we are always looking for new options; especially as he won’t touch books that seem that they are ‘for girls’ as the cover might indicate.

      Excellent idea on the bookclub. My mother-in-law and I have often said ‘I think you’ll like this’ on a range of books. I also loved reading about the facebook chats with past students and what a great librarian. I think librarians are often the unsung hereos of encouraging reading.

      Thanks so much for commenting.


  12. This is a great article with wonderful advice to other parents.  I would like permission to include it in one of our school newsletters so that all our parents can also benefit from reading the advice in this article.

    Thank you for sharing it with us all.

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Thanks Carmen for your comments. I would be happy for you to use it in your school newsletter and I’m glad you enjoyed it. Could you please email and he can assist you with this.

  13.' Tiere says:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's responses. Reading to and by wasn't really a practise that happened in our family growing up. It wasn't really part of our culture as such. We read the bible to help us improve our English, but loved being read to by our Sunday school teachers. Mum and dad didn't read to us, as English was not their first language – but they did tell us stories. As a parent, I loved reading picture books and graphic novels to my children whenever they would ask me to. All my literacy classes in the secondary school I teach at begin with a short read to by me. It's usually an article using Journals that is either topical or could be about something that I know is interesting or new to them. I always give them opportunity for them to ask questions, draw from prior knowledge or just listen then contribute. We do a quick recap by students sharing one thing with their peers. My students expect my classes to start this way, and in time, they would volunteer to read the article to the class and eventually make links and connections by finding similar articles themselves, and/or suggest other 'reads' that came out of our talks. My reluctant readers love reading digitally and so I use devices ( like their phones) to do this as well. Sometimes, it's not about what you read, but how we present the text.  

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Hi Tiere,

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your experiemces as a child, a prent and a teacher; I’ve really enjoyed reading it. You also remind me of the important point that reading is helping to create a love of stories and oral stories do that really well as well. I still remember my Aunt making up eloborate stories about dragons and princesses and adventures when we hopped into bed with her on school holiday visits. She would sometimes forget parts of the story and my brother and I would remind her in great detail! Sometimes on weekend mornings my youngest son likes to tell us stories which I often love more thn being read to as it’s made up by him most of the time.

      I also like the reference to reading an article before starting class – what a great way to engage students and help them to see the interesting information around us. I also agree with using different methods – such as digital devices – to engage stuents. Thanks for sharing, please let us know if you wish to nominate a primary school for the book.

  14.' Debbie Spalding says:

    Hi Rochelle,

    Very cool article that every parent should read! I love the comments regarding the Comics and Graphic Novels, – Graphic Novels are largely unknown by many parents and we need to get the word out there how great they are for children. Very cool point about not judging too harshly the material that children choose….obviously it must be age appropriate, – but anything that gets them reading at the end of the day has to be good!

    Thanks again……going to send this one out to all my children's parents.

    Omokoroa Point School




    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for your comments about comics and graphic novels and your comment ‘anything that gets them reading at the end of the day has to be good’ (with obviously age appropriate conditions as we both have noted). The point about graphic novels also reminds me that a lot of guys in their 20s (when I was in my 20s) would read graphic novels such as Daniel Clowes, and not really read novels. Only valuing one type of reading material (chapter books) to me is like only valuing one type of music (classical).

      Thanks for nominating your school.

  15.' Linda Kingston says:

    As a teacher my heart is tugged when a child in my class is frustrated with reading and their self esteem waxes and wanes. Being able to read confidently holds so much power! Attitudes and perception about reading are built up in a multitude of helpful and not helpful ways.  Recently, I had one such child in my class but I knew something more was going on when she hid a chapter book ( as the kids call them) She was determined no one else could have it even though it was rather tricky for her! So her parents and I had a chat to change tack and delightfully your blog was timely, so I shared these tips with them. Their neighbours became involved too, handing over 30 easy chapter books their daughter had grown out of. Low and behold bouncing into class head held high was a happy excited little girl. And as we all know when anyone feels good about themselves they put in effort all round. I now have a very focussed student who gives her best and is finally believing in herself. She even went to the library at lunchtime and chose the perfect book for herself- such confidence! I must admit my eyes watered. When adults work together for children they surprise us in many ways. Many thanks- I'm spreading your words. 

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Hi Linda – thanks so much for your comments – my eyes watered too! I love hearing about children feeling good about what they have achieved, especially when it has been difficult and what a great story of team work. I loved your comment ‘When adults work together for children they surprise us in many ways’. It reminds me that education is a stool where the teacher, the parents and the child all work together to create an environment for the student to flourish. 

      If you have a school to nominate pleae let us know.

  16.' lynley says:

    I teach( and looking at reciprocity of reading & writing) and I'm a mum; a mum who has one very able child and one frustrated by learning issues. Reading is just part of the bigger picture. Be inclusive- read together, write together, and talk together. Love words and their power to paint pictures. Challenge children not to let unknown words go unrecognised; notice words. Delibrately use words that are interesting and worth noticing. Use writing things down to resolve conflict or express feelings and thoughts to hard to say out loud.

    Articulate children, good readers, and good writers may often go hand in hand BUT they can often not. Sometimes you might get 2 or 1 out of the three( just like us parents), sometimes its different combinations at different ages and stages; exploit words in any context- reading is just one (important-yes) avenue. We need to exploit them all. Language is an art form (and can be so much fun).

    My children are grow-up now; some things I miss: the shared book at bedtime, the silly word games as we do everyday activities, the play on words, and changing the words in a song to suit ourselves. Do they read now ? Yes, but not every night. Are they articulate and can use language well ? Yes. Our one who struggles is most articulate when writing, more so than talking, and is a slow reader due to processing issues (writing age higher than rdg age) 

    So, support and grow the reading, but also the writing and the talking too- it's all about the art of effective language. They all help each other and encourage our children to notice words. 

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Hi Lynley. Great point on reading being just part of the bigger picture. I remember hearing an excellent interview several years ago on National Radio where it said all childen (and adults) have areas they are strong in and other areas they are weaker in. This educationalist recommended focusing more on the strengths of the child so that they felt good about themselves and therefore were more open and positive when they focused on the areas they were weaker in.

      I like your suggestion of writing to resolve conflict. I also thought this could also work well for suggesting the pros and cons of a decision? Great point too about effective language and using words that are interesting. I deliberately don’t change the way I talk around my children so most weeks they will have to ask ‘What does …. mean?’ or sometimes they will guess – usually correctly, because isn’t that how we generally learn through immersion?

      ‘Language can be so much fun’ Thanks Lynley.

  17.' Julie Widger says:

    To encourage reading is to make it fun. I love to read and that evening ritual of reading together at bedtime, a house full of books and parents as good role models does help. I think finding an author or theme that a child likes also helps and for reluctant readers, something with humour is a must. When you laugh together, it has to be a hook.

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Thanks Julie. You’re right – humour is such a must. This is often why Paul Jennings has been so popular with both my sons – he includes lashings of humpur throughout; also finding an author they like is great….until they get to the end of a series! on the hunt again :)

  18.' Trish says:

    Thanks Rochelle for sharing your thoughts on how do grow great readers. We are so lucky that our two girls love to read. My youngest was a reluctant reader and then I remebered comics and this got her started! We are so lucky that we have some great libaries that run some great holiday activities to encourage reading further. Our school also encourages the children to take out books for the school holidays to keep the reading alive! Currently I am working with under 3 year olds and they just adore books. I could be on the couch reading for long periods of my day. Watching a child look at picture books with great delight is one of those heart warming moments for me! 

    The school I would like to nominate is Whenuakite School:)

    Thank you 

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Hi Trish,

      Thanks for commenting  and nice to see the love of comics extends to other families as well! The library school holiday activites are fantastic as well as the summer reading programme. What my boys also liked about the summer reading programme (besides the party and the prizes!) was discussing their book with another adult without Mum or Dad there – it makes the joy their joy to share. I love reading books to the under 5s. One of my sons would sit there for ages even when he was 1. My other son was less keen to sit still as early but by around 3 he would really enjoy it. I think we also have to learn to be patient – well I did – if our child doesn’t want to listen; eventually the right book will grab them. 

      Thanks for nominating a school.

  19.' Rebecca McKeever says:

    I would like to nominate Grants Braes School in Dunedin.  

    I enjoyed reading your post Rochelle.  My two children 4yrs and 6yrs both love reading.  We read every night before they go to bed and have done so since they were very little. I think this special time every day shows children the value we put on reading. It creates a lovely bonding time for parents and kids too.  I love cuddling up with the kids on their bed and sharing a book together.  I totally agree with you that it doesn't matter what children are reading as long as they are reading and enjoying it.  My 6year old son has a few favourites at the moment – Geronimo Stilton and Zac Power. Which you can get through Scholastic book club at great prices at different times.  I like your idea about the comics.  We haven't really had any comics for the kids yet.  I am definitely going to look for some. I think my son would love them. Trade me is a good idea.  Have you got any good suggestions on what comics to start with for my 6year old boy?

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks for your comments and for nominating a school. It is a lovely bonding time. Last night Mr 7 asked me to read him a bedtime story and I gave him the option of a book we could read that night or a chapter book. He chose David Walliams Mr Stink which is Mr 9’s. I read a chapter and he wanted another . The comics we bought off Trade Me (and garage sales sometimes work too) were Beano, Buster, Dandy to start with. My boys both ‘read them’ even when they couldn’t really read them. Garfield is also really popular and our library has several Garfield for loan – and you can ask a library to purchase items?

  20.' Barbara Beaumont says:

    I enjoyed reading your comments.  I am a teacher and I have three children of my own who are all avid readers.  I read stories to my own children every night.  They watched me read and throughout their childhood I watched for their ability to grow and as it did I helped them find the books they needed to "feed" their enthusiasm.  I always model enthusiasm for reading and work hard find the right material for my little students and make sure they always feel they can read  and they don't struggle too much. As adults we don't usually love things  that we always have to struggle with.

    I would like to nominate Kapanui School in Waikanae.  Thanks 

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Thanks Barbara for your comments and for nominating a school. I like your point on enthusiasm for reading and that we don’t usually love things that we have to struggle with which obviously links in well with ‘feeding’ enthusiasm with the right books.

  21.' Neela Parsotam says:

    Lyall Bay Primary School

    Lots of great ideas.  I started to read to my son at a early age, got him a library card and took him to storytime at the Library.

    1. Rochelle Savage says:

      Thanks Neela. Storytime at the library is such a lovely time with your child and helps to grow a love of stories. Thanks also for nominating a school.

  22. Renee says:

    Thank you to everyone who has commented, shared, and contributed to the discussion. We've really enjoyed reading all your responses! I would like to congratulate the following people, who have won a copy of The Three Bears, Sort of for their nominated school:

    Mark Buckland, Hurupaki Primary — Whangarei

    Barbara Beaumont, Kapanui School — Waikanae

    Tsana Plessius, Glenbrae Primary — Glen Innes

    Rebecca McKeever, Grants Braes School — Dunedin

    Donna Bell, Welbourn School — New Plymouth

    We will be in touch with you and Scholastic (our fantastic prize sponsors) to arrange delivery. 

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