Updated: Apr 26, 2019
It's Rebekah who has been the brilliant one, taking time every day to encourage and teach Reuben to read. At five he's almost on level eight of the Oxford Reading Tree.
Taking the time at this early stage of his education, to make sure he can identify, pronounce and break down words he doesn't yet know and then go on to understand context and the flow of the story is, we believe really important.
It's a decision we made together and it does cost time and money, to buy in the books and find stories he loves. We also bought I own set of the Oxford Reading Tree to mirror what he's doing in school - to be honest he's way ahead right now.
A couple of weeks back, I came into the living room, where he was briefly alone, to find him, happily working his way through reading a story book out loud, it was an amazing feeling.
It's a no brainer when you think about it, to make this investment now. Everything he learns, in school, at home, in hobbies, at parties, etc. will have a written component to it, so to accelerate his ability to read well, actually speeds up his ability to engage and learn everything else.
We have been shocked by the number of parents who don't share the same view. Sadly some of the younger 4yr olds in his class still wear nappies, and some only hear a story when it's read to them in class, as they don't have any books at home. To be told by a parent, I don't do any of that, that is what school is for, was a shock to hear. In his current school, there is one teacher and a teaching assistant, sounds good, until you realise that the Teacher works a four day week and is shared between his reception class of 30 children and the Nursery class, which again has roughly the same number.
The cuts to the Education budget in Wales are severe. Looking at the time spent with individual children it's minutes per week, so we insist on doing more at home.
So if there is ever a reason to 'Train up a Child in the way they should go, and they won't depart from it', it's reading too. This verse (Proverbs 22:6) is of course referencing a child's understanding of God, which we do, but reading is part of that, reading the Bible amongst his other books and getting familiar with that too.
So the next time you buy a birthday, Christmas, Easter present for a niece, nephew, grand child or friends child, get them a book, you never know the reward that investment will bring them in the future.