Reading for pleasure
July 07, 2017
Reading is not just something that children should do in school, it needs to be an everyday part of our lives and something we choose to do at all ages! Here’s why…
Dr Seuss once said, “You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.”
We know from talking to many of our parents that often the biggest challenge is not simply getting their child to read, but to enjoy reading too! Often children will read a book set at school, but are reluctant to pick up a book at home for pleasure. But the question “does your child read for pleasure?” is a phrase that can be surprisingly hard to define.
Reading for pleasure is something that we do of our own free will and get satisfaction from. Sometimes, someone might have originally asked us to read something but we continue because we’re interested in it! According to Nell (1988), reading for pleasure is a form of play that allows us to experience other worlds and roles in our imagination.
There are also plenty of benefits for those who enjoy curling up with a book. A report carried out for The Reading Agency revealed convincing evidence that reading for pleasure can increase empathy, improve relationships with others, reduce the symptoms of depression and improve wellbeing throughout life.
Research has also shown that students who choose what and where they read tend to be more motivated, read more and show greater language and literacy development. The study by academics at the Institute of Education, part of the University of London, found that reading had the strongest effect on vocabulary development but the impact on maths and spelling was also significant.
Reading for pleasure has also been positively linked with an increase in the following literacy-related benefits for children:
- Reading attainment and writing ability
- Text comprehension and grammar
- Breadth of vocabulary
- Positive reading attitudes
- Greater self-confidence as a reader
- Pleasure reading in later life
Despite so many positive links, over recent years there has been a definite decline in children picking up a book outside of school. Some parents fear that the increased access to technology, like tablets and games consoles, has got in the way of children’s traditional love of reading. However, we can actually use technology to help capture children’s interest in books! Most children see using a tablet as a fun activity and therefore accessing literature in this way can increase their enjoyment and confidence, resulting in a positive impact on their reading.
The school curriculum includes a focus on reading a wide range of texts to encourage reading and discussion. We know that certain elements promote a love of reading, such as freedom to choose reading materials, access to a variety of texts and quiet, comfortable places to read. Reading is not just something that children should do in school – it needs to be an everyday part of our lives and something we choose to do at all ages!
Why not use 2017 to ‘seize the summer’ and join our alternative book club at Explore Learning? Find out more and use this summer to encourage reading for pleasure with your children!
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