Both of my sons, Oliver, 11, and Alexander, 8, tend to read daily as part of their homeschool routine as well as for fun and to help them wind down, before bed. They mostly read non-fiction (novels) with the odd space/science/animal-based book thrown in and they enjoy children’s newspapers on and offline.
I have personally read to the boys since they were babies and hope that I’ve instilled in them, just how important harnessing a love of reading is, for both the purposes of education and pleasure.
My own mother, a former teacher, passed on her love of reading to me from an early age (she still remarkably reads 3 books a week) and I’ve made reading a prioirity here to help the boys’ vocabulary and writing work.
Reading can of course transport you across time and place, into brave new worlds and thought-provoking minds. It can help you to make sense of your own life and emotions whilst opening up characters and worlds who might differ vastly from you. I always feel it’s a privilege to be allowed into the intimate perspective and world the author has conjured or is sharing within their pages.
Reading is the foundation of education, improving every area of learning. It harnesses literacy, comprehension and communication skills; it ignites the imagination of the reader and helps to build empathy and resilience, expanding horizons and even improving mental health.
I’m committed to supporting my children’s learning and as a former teacher, I know first-hand that learning comes easier when both the content and style of education is enjoyable. Over Christmas however, there was lots of moaning around reading and far more reaching for tech than usual, so when husband and wife duo, Secondary English teacher Hannah, and her husband, James, contacted me about their new business, an app and website called Readingmate, I was keen to test it out and see if it might help support the boys to read more, particularly during this challenging period.
There’s a time for tech of course and there are benefits to it but I felt we’d broken the good habits the boys had gotten into pre-holidays and was keen to get them back on track in time for lockdown and remote learning.
And it REALLY has helped!
So, what is the ReadingMate app?
Readingmate is a free app which requires very little maintenance or effort from parents or children.
The hardest part is choosing what to read from the uniquely curated list of books that Readingmate has ready and waiting for your child after each time they finish a book.
The Readingmate app tracks, celebrates and rewards reading time, whilst offering suggestions for further reading to inspire your child.
Anyone with kids will know that there has to be an incentive to keep their enthusiasm fed. Readingmate has that sorted. As your child’s passion and interest in reading grows and they’re choosing to read more, the Readingmate app rewards them with badges and reading streaks for the amount of time spent reading, not the amount of books read.
Readingmate wants to nurture a habit of a lifetime, not incentivise a hobby for a short time. All of that progress and fun, for free!
Once your child has chosen from their carefully curated list on the app, you can also purchase books directly through the app on your phone or if you prefer, via a computer or laptop.
Not only will you be rewarding your child with every single purchase you make but 10p goes directly to fund reading programs and literacy trips at your child’s school (which you will have previously input into their profile) and another 10p goes to a literacy charity.
If you are a time-poor parent and need reminding to get some of the extra bits done, don’t worry as Readingmate has a built-in calendar so you can set a daily reminder for you and your child to ensure you don’t miss a day’s reading. The more regularly you are reading with your child, the more of a habit it will be come. Just like brushing their teeth before bed, you can slot a story in there too and they will be rewarded for the consistent progress they continue to make.
The wonderful thing about Readingmate is it will suggest books your children could enjoy next based on their reading choices.
As well as this, parents will be able to rate how difficult or easy your child found the book in order to make the next suggested books an accurate reflection of your child’s potential.
If you are a parent with a child who has SEND, is a keen reader or a non-reader, all of your children will enjoy using the app. They will quick gain a love of reading thanks to it. Readingmate is an excellent tool and is inclusive of all children regardless of preference, age, stage or ability.
You can also use the website to learn and purchase books. Check it out here: https://shop.readingmate.co.uk/
Oliver and Xander have felt incentivized to read more thanks to the rewards in the app and books can be ordered easily and quickly via Readingmate’s easy-to-navigate shop.
It’s quick and easy to download and start using the app, so much so, your own children can use it themselves if you so wish.
What a wonderful app that will help children the world over.
As Dr Seuss so profoundly put it, ‘The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.’
The Readingmate App is designed to make reading an enjoyable and consistent habit in children.
In this technology-saturated, instantly gratified world we currently live in, founders of Readingmate, Hannah and James feel reading can be the key to enhance children’s attention span, strengthen their memory and (most importantly) improve their emotional well-being.
‘During my years of teaching English I have experienced first-hand the divide between readers and non-readers and the vastly differing attainment in both. There is a large gap in achievement between secondary school students who read books for pleasure and those who do not. No matter where your child sits on the scale of reading for pleasure, Readingmate will support you as a parent. It will help you to track their reading from any stage. We want you to use Readingmate as a support tool and something that you can rely on to keep your child reading’.
Do check it out HERE.
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Competition ends 20th February 2021
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