Session 325: Getting them Reading for Pleasure

Following on from the popular UKEdChat poll, the conversation focused on getting children Reading for Pleasure.

This was a popular #UKEdChat sessions. In this session the following was asked:

  1. What activities does your school plan to encourage reading for pleasure?
  2. What are favourite classic books that really help children acquire a love for reading?
  3. What are the biggest obstacles in encouraging children to read for pleasure?
  4. How do you ensure that children have easy access to books, to encourage their reading pleasure?
  5. How can technological advancements be used to encourage reading for pleasure?
  6. Finally, genres. Which genres are effective at hooking children into reading?

Join the chat from 8pm via the #UKEdChat hashtag on Twitter.


Summary

The discussion began with a get set of suggestions for engaging young readers, including reading breakfasts, making use of libraries and reading competitions. For a full list of suggestions, see the archive.

It is interesting to note that the same books and authors were mentioned again and again: Charlotte’s Web, Skellig, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the books of Roald Dahl, Betsy Byars and Enid Blyton were just a few of the works mentioned. This lead to a brief discussion about ‘book snobbery’ and that children should be encouraged to read what they want.

Many different obstacles were suggested which block reading for pleasure, the main one being schools themselves. Many UKEdChatters stated that the curriculum and the way books are used kills the enjoyment of books in the classroom and that quantity was valued above quality of reading. Other issues included parental involvement and reading culture at home, access to libraries and peer group pressure in that reading wasn’t cool. Reading issues like dyslexia were mentioned.

The responses to the question about access to books were interesting and seemed to have three aspects. In school itself, UKEdChatters didn’t seem to find any issues, barring perhaps a wider section of books. Books were available in the classroom and/or in the school library. However, access also includes choosing the right book to be an enjoyable experience and a few chat participants felt that this guidance was not always in place.

At home and in the wider community were a different matter. Access to books was felt to be highly depended of the reading culture at home. There was a brief discussion about book borrowing vs book ownership and the relative value of libraries and second-hand bookshops in the local community.

The discussion turned to the use of technology with reading. Many chatters mentioned Kindles and other e-readers. There was a discussion about the worth of on-screen reading vs traditional book reading was many good points on both sides of the debate.

The final question and answers about genre summed up this discussion nicely. Many UKEdChatters said that children (and adults) should read the genres and subject matter which interests them, whether graphic novels, the latest blockbuster children’s novel or the Guinness Book of World Records. Reading is a deeply personal thing and readers should be discerning and have a say when it comes to which characters and ideas they allow to their heads and imaginations. Reading can take you anywhere, so it is a good idea for the reader to begin the journey for themselves.


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