Reading for pleasure – life’s greatest joy!

Now that my return to teaching is looming ever nearer, I’ve been thinking a lot about my classroom and teaching in general. Being a mum to a reluctant 8 year-old reader, the main area I’ve been pondering about is reading. Not the mechanics of reading … just reading for the pure joy of it.

I made of list of some of the things that we use within the school to promote reading:

  1. My class has a ‘lucky dip’ – when a child has read 5 books, they get to dive in.
  2. We have an end of year ‘Reader of the Year’ award.
  3. Reading diaries are sent home to encourage parents to read with their child.
  4. We have specific group reading sessions.
  5. Every class has a reading corner.

And then I stopped, even though the list could keep on going. I stopped because it suddenly struck me that none of the above points are really targeting reading for pleasure. I’m not saying that they don’t have a place within the school – believe me, my class love the lucky dip – it’s just that they somehow feel cold, empty. I want my pupils (and my own son) to love reading … I want to see their faces light up when they pick up a book … I want to see them reading when I haven’t specified it as a ‘reading session’ … I want them to come and tell me about books they’ve read without me asking them to write a book review. Am I asking too much? Am I wishing for the impossible? I don’t think I am. I mean, what isn’t there to love about books?

So, the second list I’m working on (I’m a great believer in lists, by the way), are ideas that I intend on implementing the second I step foot back into the school.

  1. We need a ‘school library’, not just a reading corner in each class but somewhere central – perhaps an outdoor shed turned into a magical treasure trove of books. Somewhere to chill out with a book at playtime/end of the day/rainy play/time out – whenever. Ideally, I’d love a writing shed too!
  2. More author visits – I don’t think that there’s anything better to get pupils enthused about books.
  3. Give pupils far more opportunities to write and create their own stories – their way using their words.
  4. Get out of the classroom – explore, go on a story hunt.

And that’s where I’m at, at the moment. I would love it if anyone reading this blog would like to contribute their own ideas/thoughts about how to get children reading for pleasure. After all, it’s one of life’s greatest pleasure and for a child to miss out on this … well, it’s just not right is it.

Hwyl am y tro x

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11 thoughts on “Reading for pleasure – life’s greatest joy!

      • Yes, I know – when I started teaching, story time was part of the day in pretty well every classroom; by the time I left, teachers were saying things like, “Well, I still read to my class twice a week, because I figure I can get away with that…”

        Incidentally, I agree with the second item on your list entirely – and if you’re looking for an author to visit at any point, I’ve been told I’m pretty good… ;-D

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      • I find that whenever we ask children what their favourite books are, for the reluctant readers it is invariably one we have had as a class reader. There is a lot of pressure on the timetable, but 10 minutes daily reading to the class with expression and enthusiasm works wonders. I remember myself listening to Charlie and the Chicolate Factory in a state of trance when I was 10.

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  1. Agreed – this is something I try to do. Roald Dahl books are always hit. My son too likes listening to me read a story, but won’t pick up a book himself. I just wish there was something I could do.

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  2. I tried to read with my grade 3 students whenever I could. It was chance for me to read some of their books, and they got to see me reading – it put more value on reading for pleasure. Many times, students would come and ask me what I was reading, and could they read it when I was finished! I didn’t manage this every day, but even once a week had a positive impact – it’s worth a try.

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