Sunday, October 23, 2005

The EVO Approach

Thought this a nice addition to the discussion of getting kids to read I got so carried away with yesterday ...

Daphne Lee in her Tots To Teens column in Starmag today talks about the EVO Approach:
OK, those of you who read this column regularly are probably saying, “Oh, no, there she goes again. She sounds like a broken record.” Well, I’m also writing Tots to Teens for people who have only just come across it; new parents maybe; or educators; people who would like to nurture the reading habit in their little ones, or people who are simply interested in promoting literacy, and who maybe need help in figuring out what they can do to make a difference.

And so ... EVO! This is a little something I’ve come up with to act as a simple guide to what you need to give children if you want them to love reading and books. Exposure. Variety. Own choice. EVO!

To elaborate: Kids need to be surrounded by books and reading from the word go; they need to know that there are lots of different kinds of books out there for their enjoyment, not just, say, mysteries or fairytales or, heaven forbid, workbooks. And they need to be allowed to say, “I don’t really fancy J.K. Rowling. Give me Louisa Alcott instead.” Or vice versa.

Of course, the sooner they experience all of the above, the better. Above all else, read, read and read to your kids. At bedtime is always nice, but if little Jon crawls into your lap first thing in the morning and hands you Dr Seuss, seize the moment and run with it. And if you’re too tired, you can just look at the pictures together.
EVO? It's a winning formula!


Anonymous said...


My 2 year old loves books. At the cost of blowing my own trumpet, I know it's because she finds me with my nose in a book or magazine at every free moment I get.

While I was pregnant, I would read out loud to myself - anything ranging from poetry to some dry law book.

After she was born, and not even able to hold a book, I was already scouring bookshops for her. I bought the newly coloured Narnia volumes. Oh and yes I did get simpler books such as Animal Sounds. I set up cushions round the bookshelves and when she had learnt to crawl, I'd often find her there, pulling out her books (on the lowest shelves) and turning the pages fascinated.

She now reads my books. What this means is that she will grab whatever I am reading as it has obviously captivated me, and then open it to a page, filled with nothing but strange squiggles as far as she is concerned, and then she will read me the story. If I try to get the book back, she will hold it away from me with cries of "Is-smine!"

So I generally read several books at a time, alternating every few minutes as she takes them. This is the cost of getting your child interested in reading. Also, it means your books will not remain in pristine condition for very long. Ishiguoro's Never Let Me Go, hardback lasted 24 hours. Now it looks very trampled upon, which is was.

But hey, I am happy she loves reading.


bibliobibuli said...

Ishiguro at 2 - she has good taste in books! I seem to remember her shoing great interest in Marquez too.

She's clearly in line to inherit your book addiction ...

Well done for giving her one of the best gifts a parent can pass on.

The Angler said...

My father read to me. This didn't stop after I got to some arbitrary age of adulthood. Now my son is two years old and the one thing that I always say ``yes'' to is the command: ``Papa, read me a book.'' We go through a stack every evening. I've been thinking for a year now that I should write some stories for him.

bibliobibuli said...

Angler - it's so important. You're passing on not just the writerly genes but the writerly memes also.