One of the biggest claims against pupils in contemporary society is that they don’t read enough. They’re always on computers, and many just don’t sit down and enjoy reading “like they used to in the good old days”, are misguided claims often heard by commentators. Any teacher will know that there are some children in each classroom whose appetite for books is never quenched, whereas other pupils would rather do anything else apart from read – this is true of the children growing up in the 1960’s as it is today. There are just too many external factors involved in whether we grow up enjoying a good book, or not.
A secondary teacher based in Scotland, Kenny Pieper’s clear love of reading shines through his “Reading for Pleasure” book. It is clear that he would like every person on the planet to share this passion, but the reality faced each day reveals that this is not achievable for every person. Pieper’s response to this, as an English teacher, is (despite the pressures of the timetable) to allow his students ten minutes in each lesson to read. Read anything. By creating a reading environment where reading is expected, with all pupils respecting the time, space and opportunity within this ten minutes. This is how Kenny starts each lesson, and there should be no interruption of this ten minutes. It even means that the teacher just sits and reads a book for ten minutes, at the start of each lesson.
Could this work for you, in your classroom, and with your busy timetable? Well, where there is a will, there is a way. Pieper offers us the tools and guidance in setting up this ‘ten-minute reading’ system, and it is achievable within any school environment.
The book progresses with positive discussions about how to use and create a library, whether it be large or small; implementing e-readers; talking about reading (including podcasting); boys and books; and developing a reading habit. Indeed, the final words of the book call for all school leaders, teachers and parents to “Let them read”. A love of books won’t come to all, and it won’t happen quickly, however allowing the time, space and permission to let children read is a virtue of which all classrooms should aspire towards.