• Question: I’m looking at developing literacy skills in 6 years olds who have been making steady progress in reading and have now turned off to it and don’t want to read for now! Is there an approach you would recommend and is there an age by which learning will become much harder?

    Asked by elliemc to Sarah, Jo, Jessie on 27 Feb 2018.
    • Photo: Sarah McGeown

      Sarah McGeown answered on 27 Feb 2018:

      Hi, this is very disappointing, but also quite common that children’s enjoyment of, and attitudes to reading decline with increasing age (although usually much later – aged 8/9, rather than aged 6). It’s critical that children have the underlying skills (ie word reading, language) they need to be independent readers in order to enjoy reading. After this, research shows that giving children choice of reading material (rather than imposing texts on them) is critical. It can be useful for teachers to know a bit about children’s literature so they can support students to choose books that they might like. Focusing on reading for pleasure is critical, so that children are enjoying reading, rather than simply reading to develop their reading skills. I suspect you know all of this already though! Reading can get harder as children get older if they don’t have the necessary language skills to support their understanding of the texts. Therefore developing language skills alongside literacy skills is important.