How do we learn to read for pleasure and why is this important

It may surprise you to know that, even in our modern times, many people can only read and comprehend at a functional level, such as understand signs and labels. Many cannot read at all. In a time where manual work has less and less value, if you cannot read your  future is very bleak.

This is not the fault of our schools. The preconditions for literacy are set at home in the first three years of life. (See Science)

This is also not a problem that exists only far away from where we live. The Anglophone community in the Eastern Townships is especially vulnerable. (See The Anglophone Community)

How can you help?

You can start by thinking about how you learned to read.

You probably lived in a home where there were many books. You probably were read to by an affectionate adult from a very young age.

If this is you, then you are fortunate. For these are the preconditions for being literate.

Being literate, depends mostly on being read to as a very young child and being held with love as you heard a story. The key process is the touch combined with hearing many words spoken in a loving voice. It is the combination of touch and words spoken in a loving voice that unlocks the pathways in the brain that enables a human to read with fluency. (See Science)

This is the human equivalent of “Grooming“, the core social process of all primates.

The critical age to develop these pathways in your brain is between the ages of 0-3. If you reach the age of 6 and you have had neither part of this mix, you are unlikely to ever read well. (See Science)

This short window of love and words is what Tales for Tots or Les ‘tits Trésors (French slang for Tiny Treasures) is all about.

Our goal is to find ways of helping as many families as possible to give their kids the best start possible toward literacy.

Our mission to to develop the best ways to do this.

  • Our first step is to create more awareness – see the Book Drive
  • Our next step is to create a structure – a network of concern
  • Then we can discover the best methods of achieving this goal

A simple question for you then, is would you like to play a role?

In the menu on the left you can find links to

  • The Book Drive – what we are doing to create awareness
  • Who are the Partners – the first members of the Tales for Tots Network
  • What is the Science and the Research behind this work
  • How you can Contact us, support us and volunteer

I hope that you may find a place for yourself in all of this.

I can think of no greater use of my own remaining time than to do my best to give even one local child the chance to read well.

All the best

Rob Paterson

The Knowlton Literary Festival Association