A hot topic in education is the importance of reading for pleasure. As a teacher, it’s important to inspire children into wanting to learn to read as this life-long skill will open most doors in life as well as allowing them to harness onto their own imagination.
Reading for pleasure is defined as reading for the purpose of enjoyment; therefore, this is not restricted to print but also online texts and genres (blogs, social media, e-books, etc).
The BBC state that just some of the benefits of reading for pleasure include:
- It increases motivation, achievement, aspiration, confidence and self-esteem.
- Reading for pleasure boosts self-awareness and widen’s the reader’s horizons.
- Reading can be done anywhere, at anytime, with any medium.
- It helps develop relationships, empathy, inclusion and mutual understanding.
- Similarly, reading promotes relaxation and therefore, contributes towards self-care.
Teachers need to work towards promoting reading as a source of entertainment because this in turn will boost motivation for investigating books and comprehension skills. It’s our job to inspire and encourage children into developing their reading ability and knowledge of genres or authors available. The aim is to create a positive reading culture whereby the attainment link between reading for pleasure and academic success is realised.
There is a growing body of evidence which illustrates the importance of
reading for pleasure for both educational purposes as well as personal
development (cited in Clark and Rumbold, 2006 in DfE report on Reading for Pleasure 2012).
As a teacher, you should enable:
- Regular book swapping or sharing of stories amongst peer groups.
- Allow children to participate in a guided/focused (and interactive) reading group.
- Collect list’s of your classes book recommendations.
- Use texts chosen by learners in specific reading activities.
For the purpose of building comprehension skills, it’s important that readers learn to: summarise, question, self-correct, check for understanding/meaning, develop an awareness for story structure and literary features.
Other benefits to reading for pleasure include: text comprehension and
grammar, positive reading attitudes, pleasure in reading in later life,
increased general knowledge (cited in Clark and Rumbold, 2006 in DfE report on Reading for Pleasure 2012).
Throughout the reading for pleasure incentive, children develop the skill of being an independent reader; this is crucial for building independence more generally as well as providing a place to reflect alone. Most importantly, children should also discuss their new findings with both peers and adults.