1. A Question For Parents Education?
It’s unlikely that anyone would think that the question ‘HOW DO YOU HAVE AN IMAGINATIVE CONVERSATION WITH YOUR CHILD?’ could activate a substantial education course for parents. Or that one should even exist for parents and children that focuses on reading and discussing Young People’s Literature.
But as Red Wool Editions are publishers of young writers and educators, we passionately believe so.
Our rationale goes something like this.
Storybooks are full of the miscommunications between children and adults.
We see it between Harry Potter and his mean-spirited uncle and aunt, Matilda and her narcissistic parents and, to point to a particularly cruel example, Oliver Twist and the cruel overseers of the poor house who mock the boy’s request for more food.
But as publishers, we thought that we should also be concerned with inspiring parents and kids better communicate by sharing their storytelling and truth-seeking.
Why shouldn’t we build on the great work done by millions of parents around the world who, day after day, night after night, read stories to their children?
Why shouldn’t we support such tireless love of books and literature with the best research, activities and resources we can find to enrich their labour of love?
2. Do it for the pleasure of it!
Education programs for parents are usually about correcting and improving a person’s parenting skills.
UNESCO’s 2015 report on stopping the trend of withdrawing funding of early childhood education, aptly entitled Investing Against The Evidence, defines parenting education as “maximising the most critical enabling environment”.
Parenting approaches, philosophies and cultural constructions abound, but there is one tenet that is universal: a primary function of parenting is to facilitate the survival, development and well-being of the child. However, this function may not always be carried out in full (due to any number of individual and/or contextual factors), disrupting the mechanism by which positive parenting promotes children’s ability to achieve their full potential. (p.158)
The UNESCO report concluded that
…parenting programmes exist within a complex landscape and represent a myriad of designs… In general, these programmes have been effective in improving parenting practices, knowledge and attitudes and in supporting children’s positive health, growth, development, learning and protection. (p.167)
The variety of approaches and belief in their benefits can be seen, for instance, when you type in the search term ‘parent education‘ on the online learning platform UDEMY on which 648 parenting courses are on offer.
Remarkably, however, there is only one course listed on reading with children.
This does NOT mean that we should not be paying attention to the value of interactive and imaginative ways of sharing children’s books.
Let’s keep doing what works!
Interestingly, a 2016 Western Australian study of 997 Year 4 and Year 6 at 24 schools explored the impact of the frequency with which parents read to their children and theories on why reading aloud at home and at school was so beneficial.
While a few children did not mind no longer being read to, others were disappointed when it stopped. For example, when I asked Jason about his experience of being read to by his parents, he explained:
… they kind of stopped when I knew how to read. I knew how to read, but I just still liked my mum reading it to me.
His experience is common, with other recent research suggesting that more than one-third of Australian respondents aged six to 11 whose parents had stopped reading to them wanted it to continue.
The study Merga refers to regarding 6 to 11-year-old students is the Australian Kids & Family Reading Report™ conducted by the publishers Scholastic, in which a data leads to a detailed analysis of the importance of being read to by parents beyond early childhood. The analysis concludes with the following infographic:
Merga draws a similar conclusion, suggesting “a need for greater emphasis on quality interactive reading experiences at school and at home, which can improve student skills, and offer social and emotional advantages.”
3. Seven-days of wonder!
As a young parent, Clare-Rose Trevelyan has spent the last nine years producing books for young people, 10-year-olds plus, who don’t follow the conventional wisdom of… well… anyone. Yes, we know that heroines are more fashionable nowadays but then along comes #MeToo to show us as women and parents just how much more we need to do to have a fair world for our children and daughters.
The five fictional journals of Clare-Rose Trevelyan’s PAST LIFE LIBRARY are created around five very unconventional girls… well really one girl seen journeying through five different lifetimes.
So, as one parent to another, Clare and the creative team at Red Wool Editions are passionate about bringing up imaginative young women and men who resist ‘spin’ and find value in their own perceptions.
Fictional journals are for imaginative parents and kids to read aloud.
The aim of this free resource is to present seven themes of the PAST LIFE LIBRARY that in seven interactive ways.