Friday, November 25, 2011

Reading with children

My wife and I read with our children, literally before they could read.  We bought books made with cloth so that we could read with them in the bath.  We started with books with colourful pictures and no words; then books with colourful pictures and few words; then books with fewer and fewer pictures but more and more words, ... 

When they could start to read by themselves, we sat with them, each of us reading our own books.  When we went to restaurants with adult friends, we asked our children to bring along their favourite books.  They could then have something to read before the food came, after they finished with their food, and when they were bored by the adults’ conversation. 

We don’t have a lot of worldly treasures.  The one thing that we have quite a bit of is books.   All our three daughters love to read, although they have very different interests in books.  One loves her books so much she would get upset with me if I wrinkle up her books.  We would like to think that our reading with them when they were young have something to do with it.

I was therefore happy to read that a recent PISA study found that
  • “15-years-old students whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher scores in PISA 2009 then students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all.” 
  • “The performance advantage among students whose parents read to them in their early school years is evident regardless of the family’s socio-economic background.”
  • “Parents’ engagement with their 15-year-olds is strongly associated with better performance in PISA.”
  • Such parent-child engagements with positive associations include: “discussing political or social issues”, “discussing books, films or television programs”, “discussing how well children are doing in school”, eating main meals together around the table”, and “spending time just talking with one’s children”.

[The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a worldwide evaluation in OECD member countries of 15-year-old school pupils' scholastic performance.]


Cyiu Chau said...

Wow, that's quite a collection of books!
(Oh, Stephen, you still have a book about programming languages in my possession :P)

Interestingly, it seems English books outnumbered Chinese books in your collection. (While in my collection, Chinese books dominate.)

This post also reminds me of the good old days when my mum read stories to me. I started reading on my own since primary school, because she reads too slowly (her Cantonese and English are both not too well) but I am still so grateful for having such a mum that ignited and cultivated my interest on reading.

By the way, I've been considering buying a Nook reader (or Kindle), to carry less weight on travelling and make better use of my 'fragmented' time.

StephenC said...

Actually, that's just part of it :-) On the other hand, these have been accumulated in 20+ years.

Yes, you are tight. I have more books in English than in Chinese. But i do have quite a few Chinese ones, and I still read faster in Chinese.

So, you are another data point in support of the benefits of reading with your children :-)

Book reader. I am still a bit skeptical. Personally, I like highlighting, underlining, draw, and writing on margins of books. Which are hard to do with the current generation of electronic readers. So I might have to wait a bit longer. :-(

And I still enjoy more the look and feel of shelves and shelves of books.

Tell me of the books that you find interesting - to give me more options. And I can give you my take - if you are interested.


Cyiu Chau said...

Haha, well, generally I also read faster in Chinese, especially novels. However, for technical books, Chinese books are not that easy to read, because we learnt the jargon in English in schools.

*sigh* Actually I am also not 100% satisfied by most of the electronic readers available on the market. Generally they all are weak in handling pdf files, which is the format that most journals and essays and even some magazines and books are distributed in. And sadly the common 6" monitor is a bit too small to show an A4 document. The 9" ones are too expensive. I think I will get a rather cheap 6" one first and see how things will turn out in the future.

Oh yes, please do share with me the books that you find interesting. =) And of course I am more than happy to tell you my findings.

Cyiu Chau said...

Oh, and one more thing before I go to sleep. Stephen, I am so happy to tell you that I was selected for this year's C I Stapleton Scholarship. Just got the email from SAO last Friday. =)

StephenC said...

Congratulations! Well done. By the way, I had dinner with Cliff Chan a couple of weeks ago. He seemed to think highly of you.

M said...

It's such a shame now we are going digital. Last year I gave 8 boxes of books away to a charidee shop to make room. Now I have a 'bulging kindle'. Bit nothing beats that look you have there. And true about the kids - its the best thing.

StephenC said...

Yeah. And it is so enjoyable reading with your children.