The core purpose of everything we do – all the activities and art, the games and interest- arousing texts of many different kinds – have one aim. To encourage children who don’t read to become readers. To do that, we have to demonstrate the power of books and the importance of reading as a life-skill. We have to show them that books open doors to other people’s worlds.
We don’t teach them to read. That mysterious process happens in the first three years of
school (if it happens at all). We don’t do phonics, or spelling, or ten questions at the end. We don’t do neat handwriting and tidy colouring in.
For many of the children we work with, CBN is a wild experience. They are offered choices. There are multiple reading opportunities laid out when they arrive. They are allowed to talk, to compare, and to share their discoveries with others. They are allowed not to like a book – and to say why not. They keep reading journals (called Book-Books) that nobody marks or
corrects – or even looks at.
Most of all, they are given the freedom to use their own imagination and creativity to expand on the ideas and concepts they read about. They THINK about what they have read – and many of them choose to find out more or read another in a series because books have engaged with their minds.
THAT is what reading should be about.