The Pleasures of Reading

A few weeks ago this article came out about how children are reading for pleasure more than ever.

You can imagine how pleased I am about this, especially as a former teacher who spent 5 years trying to transfer my enthusiasm for reading to my students!

I did this in a few ways, and they remain to this day one of my best memories from teaching. Once, I organised a school-wide book week which had kids reading all over the school and reciting poetry to each other! I also made sure there was time for a class reading time at the end of every day. I made sure this time was just about hearing and enjoying a story and not about reading comprehension or anything else the government is making children do at 5 years old nowadays.

Seriously, in ‘Guided Reading’ sessions I was asking 5-7 year-olds questions like what they thought a character’s motivation was, to predict endings and to de-construct the scenes they have just read. I was doing this stuff at GCSE level and it damn near put me off reading (yes, me!) so what’s it going to do to these little ones who have only just discovered the joy of books?

It really is sad that the Literacy curriculum includes so many targets and very little about actually enjoying books and being around them for fun. That’s why teachers and parents are struggling to keep this love alive, but I’m glad they seem to be succeeding. I realise that everybody is so busy nowadays and reading time in class and at home is getting squeezed out. But, please think about the benefits of a lifelong love of reading. I think you’ll agree it’s time well spent.


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