Loving Literacy in the IEP!

Why is reading so important?

The literacy skills that are acquired in childhood are the foundation for the future and as such, it is important that children read (or a read to) every day. Indeed, as focus moves from learning to read in the early years to reading to learn towards the end of primary school, there is no doubt that academic success is contingent on the ability to read successfully.

The benefits of reading for language learners is well evidenced and below I have provided a summary of what I believe, as an EAL educator, are the 5 most important benefits.

  1. Vocabulary/language acquisition

Reading can both extend and sustain students’ vocabulary growth through repeated exposure to new words or phrases in alternate contexts.

  1. Writing development

Students who read consistently improve their writing proficiency. Through exposure to new grammatical structures and semantic features in texts, students are then able to implement these in their own writing.

  1. Language competence

In addition to gains in reading and writing proficiency, students who read extensively also develop competence in all four language domains i.e. listening and speaking.

  1. Empathy

Students who read extensively are more empathic, as they vicariously experience the stories of those who are very different from themselves.

  1. Critical thinking and concentration

Reading helps develop both comprehension and analytical thinking skills through active learning i.e. prediction. Additionally, reading improves students’ ability to focus their attention and concentrate on the task at hand.

In the Intensive English Programme:

There are many benefits of reading for both native and additional language speakers. Indeed, children should learn to love the sound of language from an early age and reading books stimulates their imagination and develops their language and listening skills. In IEP, we spend time each week in the library, discovering new books, listening to stories, reading aloud (teacher and student led) and fostering a love for literacy.

Ajarn Cara 

IEP curriculum coordinator and MYP Teacher

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