Improving Your Son’s Vocabulary and Comprehension

“Children who read for pleasure are able to outperform their peers, not just in literacy, but in mathematics too” (British Cohort Study).

Kids and teens who regularly read books for fun outperformed the non-readers in vocabulary, spelling and mathematics.

“The impact of reading on kids was nearly four times greater than that of having a parent with post-secondary education.”

According to Dr Alice Sullivan (British Cohort Study), reading encourages learning as it introduces young people to new ideas. “Along with teaching them new vocabulary, it helps them understand and absorb new information and concepts at school,” she writes. She also believes that independent reading may simply promote a more self-sufficient approach to learning in general.

Encourage kids that reading is fun

How can we as parents and teachers encourage kids that reading is still an enjoyable and worthy pastime in this digital age? A 2015 survey of children in Australia found that although 60 per cent of kids between the ages of 6 and 17 say they enjoy reading books, just over a third of them are frequent readers. Additionally, 75 per cent of parents say they wish their kids would do more things that didn’t involve screen time, and nearly 80 per cent wish their child would read more books for fun.

Star Wars Day – “Star Wars Paper Planes were being created and flown through the library after a Star Wars themed Kahoot, whilst the original movie ‘A New Hope’ was being viewed and quizzes and other activities completed.”

With this in mind, here are a few ideas for inspiring your son to read in their spare time.

1. Change your own reading habits first

Research clearly shows that as kids get older, they’re less likely to read for fun, so it’s important to foster a love of reading early on. Change often starts at home, so if your son sees you as parents reading and enjoying books, they’ll be more motivated to seek out books in their spare time too. Make reading a priority in your home by investing in a variety of reading materials; visiting libraries and book stores together; setting aside specific times of day or nights of the week for reading; and just leading by example.

2. Encourage thinking about the books they read

Encourage your son to think more deeply about the stories and topics they read about. At school, students are given a chance to review their favourite books or discuss what they’ve read with their peers.

Did you know? Students can leave ratings and short book reviews in the Library Catalogue and longer book reviews can be submitted to the library blog Fiction is like a box of chocolates.

At home, parents can encourage kids to think about what they’ve read by asking questions such as: What did you learn from this story? What did you like or dislike about it? What were your least and most favourite parts?

3. Choose their own reading materials

Research by Dr Alyson Simpson (University of Sydney), shows that allowing kids to choose books according to their interests and passions is a more effective way of encouraging reading than dictating particular books. Inspire your son to read by introducing them to as many different story genres as possible, from suspense to biography to fantasy to humour. Once you know what genres they like, you can guide them to the types of books they’d be most interested in.

To support reading choice and accessibility, the Shortis library’s fiction collection is organised into genres. Students are also provided with opportunities to absorb stories in different formats, such as graphic novels, newspapers, magazines, non-fiction texts, as well as eAudio books and eBooks on the library website.

Whitefriars Reading Events

Read a Million Words House Challenge – students and staff collectively read as many words as possible to compete and contribute to their individual and house word totals. Runs 6 April – 2 August 2019 (Terms 2 and 3). Culminates in a celebration of reading, writing and books during Book Week. Currently students are participating in discussions with each other, library staff and English teachers about their completed books for the challenge. To keep the excitement and momentum of the challenge alive there will be competitions along the way such as ‘Guess how many words in the book.’








Book Club – meets every Wednesday lunchtime to delve into stories, themes and book-related activities.

During 2019 the library and book club is following the ‘Stories Make Us Calendar’ created by the Australian Children’s Laureate Morris Gleitzman. This calendar relates each month to how stories can affect our lives. For instance, during May “Stories Make us Determined”

WFC Community Book Club for parents/guardians, staff and other members of the Whitefriars Community meets once a term to discuss books based on a theme. Term 2 theme is biography/memoirs. The next meet up will be Monday 3 June 7pm – 8pm in the Whitefriars Shortis Library.


All welcome and bookings essential

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