Scholastic

 

Who is Scholastic Australia?
Scholastic has been the market leader of Australian children’s publishing for over 50 years. The fledgling H J Ashton Company—founded in New Zealand in 1962—was established in Australia in 1968. In 1970, the company joined the Scholastic Inc. International group, which has its head office in New York, USA.

Since then, Scholastic has established itself as a beloved and recognisable household name in children’s literature. For decades, Scholastic has proudly been bringing adventure and the unrivalled enjoyment of reading to multiple generations of Australian families. Many of the books bought by Scholastic’s first customers are still sitting, battered and loved, on the bookshelves of those customer’s own children and grandchildren.

Scholastic is a trusted literacy partner worldwide, publishing and distributing books and educational materials of the highest quality to children and educators in over 150 countries. Scholastic books can be found in the iconic Book Club catalogue, fun-filled Book Fairs at schools, and in bookshops and major retailers across the nation.

There are more than 7000 Scholastic Book Fairs held annually in Australian schools. Each Book Fair offers an exciting, hands-on book buying experience, where children are encouraged to browse and interact with any book title that catch their eye. Book Fairs are a chance to bring together an entire school community, encouraging both children and their families to unite over the simple—yet powerful—love of books.

Scholastic Book Club can be found in more than 94% of primary schools across Australia, and covers ages from 0-12+ years. Each Issue of Book Club contains specially curated, age-appropriate titles that have been carefully selected and levelled by a dedicated team of professional booklovers.

With numerous studies finding that reading at home is a key factor in a child’s lifelong success, Book Club provides a fun and easy way of bringing books into a child’s home. It provides families with an affordable and convenient way to access the best in Australian and international children's literature. As well as bridging the important class-to-home reading gap, Book Club also benefits Australian schools—for every Book Club order placed, Scholastic gives back 20% of the order spend to schools to spend on valuable educational resources via its Scholastic Rewards program.

Scholastic always strives to offer an extensive range of quality books and cross-curriculum products to the children and educators of Australia. Scholastic’s team searches the globe for resources that will enable a child to reach their highest potential—strengthening their vocabularies, critical thinking skills and broadening their knowledge of the world around them, all via the enjoyable act of reading.

Therein lies the heart of Scholastic: the unwavering belief that all children should have regular access from a young age to quality, affordable books that they have chosen for themselves. Reading books for pleasure has been proven to play an integral role in a child’s success during both their schooling and adult life. It is Scholastic’s goal to foster this love of reading, and to acknowledge the power of choice when it comes to children genuinely enjoying the books they’re reading.

Reading brings a sense of unparalleled joy and ignites a spark of adventure that a child can carry within their heart well into their adult life. Scholastic hopes to light this spark within every child.

Written by: Alesha Evans


 

What is Book Club?
For more than 50 years, Scholastic Book Club has been bringing to the joy of reading to Australian children. Today, Book Club can be found in more than 94% of primary schools across Australia, with a yearly circulation of over 20 million catalogues. Each Issue of Book Club covers ages from 0-12+ years and contains specially curated, age-appropriate titles that have been carefully selected and levelled by a dedicated team of professional booklovers.

Book Club provides families with an affordable and convenient way to access the best in Australian and international children's literature. As well as bridging the important class-to-home reading gap, Book Club also benefits Australian schools—for every Book Club order placed, Scholastic gives back 20% of the order spend to schools to spend on valuable educational resources via its Scholastic Rewards program.

So how does Book Club work?
1. Book Club catalogues arrive at school up to twice a term and can usually be found hiding in your child’s backpack. We encourage you to sit down with your child and go through the catalogue together, discussing any books that sparks your child’s interest.
2. Once your child has made their final selection, head over to our LOOP website or app to place your order. LOOP orders are linked to your school in an easy, safe online process. Registering for LOOP will also keep you up-to-date with all of the latest Book Club news, information on exciting new releases, and our exclusive Book Club special offers.
3. Your school’s Book Club Organiser will then take care of the rest! After they have submitted everyone’s orders, our team get to work packing your child’s order full of exciting things. 
4. Your child’s order is then delivered to their class, ready to take home and be eagerly read. Orders that you have marked as a ‘gift’ in LOOP will be sent to school for you to secretly pick-up instead.

With numerous studies finding that reading at home is a key factor in a child’s lifelong success, Book Club provides a fun and easy way of bringing books into your home.

Written by: Alesha Evans


 

The Importance of Reading and Choice
Did you know that, according to the Australian Kids and Family Reading Report (www.scholastic.com.au/readingreport), an overwhelming majority of kids aged 6–17 agree that their favourite books—and the ones they are most likely to finish—are the ones they pick out themselves. Nearly all of the participants agreed that they feel pride and a sense of accomplishment when they finish reading a book. This simple act of selecting and reading a book for pleasure has been proven to play an integral role in a child’s success during both their schooling and adult life.

The research also shows, however, that having parents who are reading role models is crucial for children to first develop these positive attitudes and behaviours towards reading for pleasure. Seeing you reading—whether it’s reading a novel for pleasure, browsing the newspaper for information, or simply flicking through a cookbook or magazine—helps your child foster a healthy appreciation of reading and its importance in everyday life. 

But finding the perfect book isn’t always an easy task. With 74% of children saying that they would read more if they could find more books that they like, it’s clear that occasional guidance is needed when it comes to reading time. Book Club is an easy way to help your child find books that spark their interest and create a sense of excitement around reading. Results demonstrated that children whose parents use Book Club as a tool to encourage reading for pleasure are more likely to enjoy reading—especially for fun—and to think that reading is important. The same results were found for children whose parents ensure easy, regular access to print books and a variety of reading materials.

We understand that regularly finding new, exciting books to read may seem like a daunting task. Over 40% of parents agreed that they need help finding books that their child likes, especially as they grow older. Scholastic is here to support you in your role as a reading role-model; Book Club provides a fun way of discussing books with your child and encouraging them to explore the world of reading! It is our goal to foster this love of reading, and to acknowledge the power of choice when it comes to children genuinely enjoying the books they’re reading.

Written by: Alesha Evans


 

Mindful Reading
It has been well-documented that reading is academically beneficial for children in so many ways. It improves their vocabularies, verbal fluency, comprehension, spelling, general knowledge and so much more. But did you know that reading has benefits that extend beyond the purely academic? It allows children the time to quieten their mind and to unwind, soothing any stress or anxiety that may have been taking up space in their thoughts. This act of relaxing and focusing on a single task without background distractions is called mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a term that is often thrown around these days. Research has found that its practice has noticeable physical, psychological, and emotional benefits—from actually growing the areas of the brain associated with learning, memory, and emotions—to boosting the immune system[i]. But what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is ‘about intentionally paying attention to each moment, being fully engaged in whatever is happening around you and within you. It involves bringing an attitude of curiosity, acceptance and friendliness to whatever is experienced, rather than habitual patterns of judgment and criticism.’[ii]

In a world where there are so many distractions, be it from digital noise or otherwise, it can be challenging for children to simply sit down and concentrate on one task or thought. Practising mindfulness via the act of reading is one simple yet incredibly powerful way for children to help cultivate this ability to quieten their mind and learn how to focus their thoughts—and it appears that educators agree.

More and more, schools are teaching mindful reading techniques to their students. As a growing part of the school curriculum, this emerging mindfulness movement provides lessons and exercises that assist children in fine-tuning their key life skills, such as paying attention to detail, active listening and thinking before they act or speak. These techniques also help to help students focus on their work, better handle frustration, stave off stress, and even smooth out rocky social relationships[iii]. Research has proven that the benefits of mindfulness go hand-in-hand with the benefits that come from reading. In a 2015 literature review commissioned by The Reading Agency in the United Kingdom, it was found that reading for pleasure increases empathy, enriches social relationships, reduces symptoms of depression and instils an overall sense of wellbeing. It comes amid evidence that fewer children are reading for enjoyment, and that parents are not encouraging them to read enough[iv].

So how can you help your child benefit from mindful reading? The first step is to move away from passive reading. ‘Passive readers read words, but active readers read ideas. A passive reader's goal is to get finished.’ Instead of reading as a duty or as something to get out of the way, encourage your child to find a quiet space and pick up some reading material of their choice—be it a novel, comic book, magazine, newspaper or the television guide—and allow themselves to actively immerse themselves in the task without distraction. Encourage them to set aside time in their daily routine for reading that is purely for their own pleasure. Regularly immersing themselves in the written word allows children to gain a deeper understanding of both themselves and the world around them, not only helping with their cognitive development, but also inspiring self-reflection and positive change[v].

By encouraging your child to practise mindful reading each day, you’re helping them to excel in their academic life and their personal life—improving their cognitive abilities and, ultimately, their mental health and well-being.

Written by: Alesha Evans

 

[i] Mindfulness in Schools Research Project: Exploring Students’ Perspectives of Mindfulness, 2015, Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

[ii] https://www.monash.edu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/233898/what-is-mindfulness.pdf

[iii] Caballero, C, Scherer, E, West, Martin R, Mrazek, M D, Gabrieli, C F O, and Gabrieli, J D E (in press), Greater mindfulness is associated with better academic achievement in middle school. Mind, Brain, and Education.

[iv] The Reading Agency, Literature Review: The Impact of Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment, BOP Consulting, 2015.

[v] Teaching Children Mindful Awareness And Self-Love Through Stories, 2018, Your Body the Temple, The Mindful Panda


 

The Importance of Reading Aloud
Think back to some of your favourite memories from your childhood. Chances are, these memories include times where you cosied up next to a loved one as they read to you from your favourite book. You may not even remember any book titles in particular, but just the warm, loving feelings that you received from this special reading time, and have carried into your adult life. And this feeling is still universal today, with the overwhelming majority of kids saying that they love being read books aloud at home—the main reason being because it is a special time with a loved one[1]. Creating these cherished read-aloud moments with your child allows them to form a positive association with books, both during childhood and well into their adult lives.

Not only is reading aloud an important family bonding method that creates lifelong memories, but it also has multiple proven cognitive benefits for children. "Reading aloud to young children, particularly in an engaging manner, promotes emerging literacy and language development and supports the relationship between child and parent”[2]. Reading aloud helps to expand a child’s vocabulary and stimulate language development from a young age. It can also improve a child’s memory, concentration, grammar skills and mathematical capabilities[3].

These improved cognitive skills are especially beneficial once a child begins their academic journey. By the time they start school, children who have been read aloud to from a young age have been exposed to new ideas and hundreds of uncommon words and phrases. One study found that some children hear as many as 30 million fewer words than their peers by the time they enter school[4]. This constant exposure to the written word improves a child’s writing and listening skills, analytical abilities, reasoning processes, attention span and general knowledge of the world around them. However, regularly reading aloud also has benefits that extend beyond a child’s success at school. Reading aloud is an excellent way to help children deal with stress and anxiety, and can also help ease aggression and hyperactivity[5]. It encourages curiosity and allows for deeper social and emotional development—being exposed to the lives and stories of countless characters stimulates a child’s empathy by sharing in their thoughts and feelings.

Despite the extensive benefits of reading aloud, research has found that, while 84% of parents start reading to their child before they turn six, one in five parents stop reading to their child before age —usually in an effort to promote independent reading. Conversely, of those children whose parents no longer read books aloud at home, more than half did not want their parents to stop[6]. So how can you ensure that you and your child continue to share quality reading aloud time? With National Simultaneous Storytime fast approaching, now is the perfect time to get into the read-aloud habit with your child. Here are some handy tips to help you on your journey:

Read to your child from birth—there is no age limit when it comes to children reaping the benefits of being read to.
Read aloud and keep going—even once your child has become a fluent, independent reader, they can still benefit from (and enjoy!) being read to.
Use audiobooks—we all know that life can get pretty hectic at times, and sometimes you may not always be able to find the time to read to your child as often as you like. Audiobooks are a great way for children.
Rinse and repeat—the idea of reading the same picture book aloud over and over may make your eye twitch, however children learn words through repetition. Hearing the same story multiple times enables them to learn these words by heart.
Choice is key—choice is one of the most important factors when it comes to a child falling in love with reading. Allow your child to select books that they’re interested in hearing aloud.
Don’t be distracted—in the digital age, it’s very easy for both the listener and the reader to get distracted by digital noise, such as tablets, phones and the TV. Choose a comfortable reading space away from technology.
Get excited—showing your child that reading is an enjoyable experience for you will instil from an early age the belief that reading is fun. Change your voice and tone to suit different characters, and use hand and bodily movements to bring the tale to life.
Pictures help—“Illustrations are visual clues that can help kids build their vocabulary and their emotional toolkit.” Pausing to address the pictures in a book when appropriate and discussing with your child what emotions etc. are happening in the scene helps in a child’s emotional development[7].
Read, read, read—read aloud as often as you can, whenever the opportunity appears, whether you’re waiting in the doctor’s office or reading a recipe while cooking dinner.


Written by:
 Alesha Evans

 

[1] http://www.scholastic.com.au/schools/ReadingLeaders/KFRR/readaloud.asp

[2] http://www.readaloud.org/why.html

[3] https://www.rorri.org/importance-of-reading-aloud/

[4] https://www.getsmartoregon.org/importance-of-reading-aloud/

[5] http://www.pbs.org/parents/expert-tips-advice/2018/05/why-reading-aloud-to-kids-helps-them-thrive/

[6] http://www.scholastic.com.au/schools/ReadingLeaders/KFRR/readaloud.asp

[7] http://www.pbs.org/parents/expert-tips-advice/2018/05/why-reading-aloud-to-kids-helps-them-thrive/


 

Why We Support Book Week
August is a special month for book-lovers. It’s that particular time of year when, during your daily commute, you could be lucky enough to see Captain Underpants, Dorothy, Harry Potter, Mary Poppins and Thelma the Unicorn all walking together to school. No, we haven’t entered a magical parallel universe where characters from our favourite books walk among us—we’ve entered Book Week! Book Week is a special time when schools and libraries across Australia join in the celebration of children’s literature. During this time, children are often encouraged to dress as their favourite book characters to take part in book parades and assemblies. However, Book Week is so much more than just another school dress-up day; it is an annual celebration that encourages children to connect with books and reading on a fun, personal level.

CBCA Book Week was first held in Australia in 1945 with the theme ‘United Through Books’. Teachers, librarians, booksellers and publishers joined in the national celebration with activities that highlighted the importance of reading. Since this time, Book Week has become ingrained in our culture, especially in the education sector. Schools and libraries take this golden opportunity to promote reading and increase the literacy skills of Australian children. This is usually where the famed book parades come into play. Children get to choose their favourite book character and—with the help of crafty family members—get to embody that character for the day. The social benefit of this is that children get a chance to have fun and creatively express themselves amongst their peers and family members. The educational benefit is that, by dressing up as their favourite bookish character, children are given the time to truly connect with books and to associate reading with fun. The power of choice plays an important role in costume selection as well. Children are more likely to connect with a book that they have chosen for themselves, so allowing your child to select a character idea for themselves further strengthens their bond with this book.

And Book Week is not just for children who are already voracious bookworms. It is also a fantastic time to introduce emerging readers to the joys of books. A child may not be fully invested in novels, but perhaps they could dress up as their favourite comic book character or as an animal from their favourite non-fiction reference book? The possibilities are endless when it comes to costume ideas, and they can be as simple or as elaborate as you like; as long as the child is having fun.

Book Week activities are another powerful way to allow children to engage more closely with books and the written word. Many schools encourage children to write and share reviews of the book that their chosen dress-up character is from. Reading aloud to peers and sharing the reading experience together has been proven to improve a child’s vocabulary, communication skills and social skills. Book-related craft activities are another way of encouraging children to associate fun with books and learning.

Family and community involvement is another important aspect of Book Week. Numerous studies have shown that reading books to and with children deepens your bond with them, while also fostering a love of learning and reading books for pleasure. If a child sees a loved one enjoying books, they’re more likely to associate books with enjoyment.

We believe that Book Week is truly a special time. The week-long celebration of literature sends a powerful message to children—and adults—across Australia; reading is vitally important and books are worthy of being cherished. Having the opportunity to personally connect with books as a child creates a sense of fun and nostalgia around reading as they grow into adulthood. Anything we can do to help light the reading spark within every child should be celebrated.

Written by: Alesha Evans


 

The Importance of 10 Minutes a Day
Did you know that just 10 minutes of reading a day will change your child’s life? While that may seem like a big statement to make, numerous studies have consistently shown that 10 minutes exposure to reading materials each day is all it takes to positively shape your child’s future. And this doesn’t just include complicated educational texts—any reading materials, be it comic books, novels, picture books, recipes, the television guide or the back of food packets, all count towards your child’s daily reading goal. Reading any of these materials for 10 minutes a day exposes your child to more than 600,000 words in one year—interestingly, that’s more than double the word exposure of a child who only reads for 5 minutes or less each day. The benefit of this word exposure is immense—research shows us that reading more improves a child’s performance in general knowledge, vocabulary, reading comprehension, verbal fluency and spelling[i]. But this goal of reading for 10 minutes each day isn’t only to improve your child’s academic success; the effects of this achievement are far more long-term than you may have anticipated.

As Dr. Seuss wisely penned, ‘The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.’  Reading for pleasure is a skill that will safely carry your child to success well into their adult life, broadening their horizons and opportunities. So how does reading benefit your child outside a classroom environment?

Reading improves a person’s empathy and emotional intelligence, allowing them to better understand the people and the world around them, which is especially important in today’s connected world. It fights against memory loss and has even been shown to slow the progress of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia[ii]—the brain is a muscle and regular exercise, such as reading each day, helps keep it healthy and stimulated.

As our lives continue to get busier, stress and the negative effects that it has on our physical and mental health can take its toll. However, research has shown that reading can be one of the fastest and most effective ways to reduce stress levels. Reading for just a few minutes can reduce stress levels by more than two thirds[iii], allowing the body to relax as the mind is granted a much-needed distraction from everyday worries. Reading also improves a person’s concentration, verbal and analytical skills, decision-making and emotional processing[iv].

While 10 minutes may only seem like a small chunk of time out of each day, life has a way of getting pretty busy. So, how can you ensure that you can comfortably set aside some time each day to help your child reach their reading goal? We’ve put together a few reading tips to help you encourage your child to smash their reading goals:

-Look through Book Club and Book Fair catalogues with your child and talk about the books you would like to read together. Discuss what you think the books might be about.
-Visit your local library. Enjoy free resources such as books and read-aloud events.
-Be a reading role model and let your child see you reading—for enjoyment, for news and for information in cookbooks, magazines, online etc. This way they see that reading is important for many reasons.
-Assign a place in your home for your family’s books to show your child that books are special and deserve an organised storage space. Fill your home with lots of reading materials.
-If space allows, create a special area for your child to dedicate to reading. Make sure your child puts aside phones, tablets and any other devices that may form a distraction.
-Encourage your child to become a reading omnivore—as we mentioned earlier, all forms of reading materials are beneficial when it comes to reaching their reading goals. If they find a particular genre that they love, encourage them to explore more titles with similar themes.
- Encourage children to read to their siblings, their friends, grandparents, pets and even their stuffed toys—any ear is a good ear when it comes to reading aloud!
-Encourage your child to create their own story, whether it’s a short-story, a comic strip or a novel. This allows them to use their creativity to write their own story, and also encourages them to proudly read it to others.
-Tie books and TV/movies together. For example, read about sea life after watching a nature documentary on the ocean. Or, connect books and experiences together. For example, after a school excursion to the zoo, read books about animals.
-Write easy-to-read notes and leave them in lunchboxes, on pillows or on mirrors and promote a sense of fun and eagerness about reading. Write your shopping list clearly and ask your child to help you read it in the supermarket.
-Start seasonal traditions. Pick a book to read every year when your child goes back to school. You can also read the same special book during a holiday or birthdays.
-Keep favourite books around. It can be comforting for a reader to build confidence and fluency by practising when re-reading a favourite book.


Written by:
 Alesha Evans

 

[i] https://www.realsimple.com/health/preventative-health/benefits-of-reading-real-books

[ii] https://www.realsimple.com/health/preventative-health/benefits-of-reading-real-books

[iii] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/5070874/Reading-can-help-reduce-stress.html

[iv] https://ideapod.com/15-incredible-benefits-reading-read-every-day/


 

Reading Pathways
Over the past few months, we have been exploring the important impact that reading from a young age has on your child’s lifelong success. Experiencing the joys of reading helps your child to excel in both their academic life and personal life—improving their cognitive abilities and their personal well-being. However, we’ve also touched on the idea that any form of reading—not just deep-diving into lengthy novels—counts towards your child’s recommended daily reading goal. Reading success is not exclusively for children who are already dedicated bookworms. With some guidance, it is achievable for any child, no matter their interests or abilities. And interest is a key factor here, as the power of choice has a significant impact on a child’s engagement with what they’re reading. The more engaged a child is from the beginning, the more likely they are to associate reading with fun.

Your child may not be currently interested in chapter books and novels, but perhaps they’re a budding scientist with a keen interest in robotics? Maybe they love to paint and draw and create fun craft projects in their spare time? Maybe they have a flair for the dramatic and love engaging in some role-playing games, or going on spy missions with their friends? Using your child’s interests is a fantastic way to boost their reading skills without forcing them to read something that doesn’t interest them, and that could potentially turn them off reading for pleasure in the future. This method of using ‘reading pathways’ is a fantastic stepping stone to help turn any child into a reader—and this is where activity-based reading comes into play.

Activity-based learning stimulates children's senses, ensuring that they are engaged as they’re learning. As they complete hands-on tasks, children are sharpening literacy skills as they read instructions, record outcomes, ask questions, collaborate with others, problem solve, research solutions and think creatively. Activity-based learning covers four key reading pathways, including:
-Communication
-Investigation
-Real-world/STEM
-Creative Arts.

Studies have shown that children learn best when the learning is active; when they are engaged in hands-on games and activities, and are truly involved in what they are learning. When children use all of their senses, it helps their brains to create pathways that make it easier and faster for them to retain information. This is where Communication, the first of the reading pathways, comes into play.

Communication reading pathways include activities that enhances a child’s reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. A wide-range of activities fall into this category, including many that your child may already love, such as journals, walkie-talkies, literacy games, crosswords, calligraphy sets, construction toys and more. Each of these activities can be used as a tool to help encourage your child on their reading journey. A diary, for example, is an excellent communication tool. Encourage your child to write in their diary once a week, about any topic that they like—their weekend, their week at school, future plans etc. Set aside some time each week to sit down as a family and to allow your child to read their entry aloud to you and then have a discussion about what they’ve written. By filling out the diary and reading it aloud to you, your child is required to practise both their written and verbal communication skills.

When building a construction toy, encourage your child to read the instructions carefully before starting. As they start to build, if something isn’t quite working, refer them back to the instructions and encourage them to discuss with someone what isn’t working and how this can be overcome. Provide them with reassurance to keep going and to keep exploring their curiosity. As they’re building, ask them to describe their thinking and to give reasons for it. Make sure you are open and share your mistakes too so they know that, not only is it ok to make mistakes, it is essential to learning!

The next reading pathway is Investigation. When children are actively engaged in an investigation activity, they are often unaware that they are actually learning and doing ‘work’. By finding an investigative activity that they’re interested in, children often become increasingly self-motivated to explore and learn. Activities that fall under Investigation require children to use their exploration and research skills, such as spy kits, atlases, rock and gem kits, science craft kits and more. Each of these hands-on items can be used as a pathway to encourage your child on their reading journey. A spy kit, for example, requires a child to carefully investigate and explore each component in the kit. In order to correctly operate the gadgets and successfully complete the spy missions, a child needs to carefully read and analyse the instructions and accompanying mission handbook. In doing so, your child is not only having fun by exploring and researching a topic that interests them, they’re also strengthening their analytical and literacy skills.

The next important reading pathway is Real-world/STEM. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) activities are excellent for promoting the use of a child’s critical thinking and problem solving skills. When a child is required to problem solve, they are developing and strengthening new neural pathways, which will allow their abilities in other areas to grow. Examples of STEM-based activities include robot kits, coding and programming kits, space-themed activities, crystal growing kits, science lab kits, soap and bath bomb kits and more. Not only will these activities vastly improve a child’s mathematical skills and problem-solving abilities, they will also be of immense benefit to their reading and literacy skills. Hands-on, gender-neutral STEM-focused activities are ideal for helping your child to develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills—aspects essential in an emerging mathematician and bookworm alike. STEM activities also provide an opportunity for you to sit down with your child in a screen-free environment and support their maths and literacy development.

An example of this includes working on an activity item such as a coding set. Our Code and Go Mouse set, for example, requires a child to use their problem-solving abilities by building a maze and then use their critical thinking skills to read and use coding cards to create a path for the robot mouse. In order to complete each step of the activity, a child is required to thoroughly read and understand the instructions—a great opportunity for a family member to join-in and provide assistance and encouragement when needed. By analysing and following the instructions, a child is also strengthening their literacy skills.

The final reading pathway to explore is Creative Arts. Bringing creativity and literacy together is a powerful way to build confidence and teach practical skills to a child, while simultaneously allowing them to embrace their creative side. It allows children to be active in literacy, to explore their imaginations, and to improve their oral language and listening skills through active team building. This approach is also beneficial for families with children who struggle with traditional methods of learning, e.g. children who are dyslexic and reluctant readers. Activities that bring literacy and creativity together include craft kits, art sets, colouring and sticker books, puzzles, fashion, and drama-related materials. Each of these activities encourage children to explore their creative side, whether it’s in a collaborative group environment or when working independently.

Story-writing prompts are an excellent example of Creative Arts activity items. Children are often natural storytellers and love creating imaginary worlds. They also love to get involved in making things come to life, giving them a sense of achievement and creative satisfaction. Encourage your child to use a story-writing prompt to come up with a story or play and then get them to read or perform their piece for you. Elements within their creative writing can lead to excellent educational discussions. A story about pirates setting sail on the high seas and looking for treasure islands can be used as a discussion to help teach children about geography and history. A play about magical creatures can lead to a conversation about fantasy and real vs. not real.

Each of these reading pathways and the activities that fall under them are incredibly important during a child’s journey of self-development. They allow a child the freedom to explore in-depth a topic that interests them, while simultaneously developing and strengthening their literacy, analytical, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Written by: Alesha Evans