Reading for Pleasure
How do we encourage children to read for pleasure at Emmer Green Primary School?
“Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s future success.” The Organisation for Economics Co-operation and Development 2002
“When you read often and with enthusiasm, usually just for the sheer fun of it, you lay foundations that last for life. You empathise. You access information more easily. Almost by osmosis you internalise the essential skills of spelling, grammar and vocabulary. You learn to express yourself verbally and in writing. You learn to interpret and potentially change your world.” (Alan Gibbons, Author)
Reading widely and covering a range of high-quality texts is important for many reasons. It is fundamental to developing comprehension and expanding vocabulary. Children who are read only one book a day will hear about 290,000 more words by age 5 than those who don't regularly read books with a caregiver. In addition it allows children to explore themselves and the identity of others, encouraging understanding and empathy. However, in order to get children to develop this most fundamental skill, we need to make sure they want to because, “the will influences the skill and vice versa” (OECD 2004).
Reading for pleasure is promoted and encouraged at every opportunity at Emmer Green Primary School. Teachers are annually trained in the principles of Reading for Pleasure and our book stocks and core texts are regularly reviewed to ensure the most engagement and impact. Our intent is to create a rich reading culture, where children can access an extensive range of appropriate, good quality books and have plenty of opportunity to read, listen to and discuss them.
Some of the ways we promote Reading for Pleasure across the school:
- Teachers reading quality texts aloud to the class or to assembled groups. These texts have been very carefully selected to create enthusiasm and maximum engagement. In some classes, polls are held to select from several books, with the winning book read to the class. Enthusiasm from pupils and teachers is key.
- Book challenges and recommendations, including the Emmer Green Reading Olympiad for KS2 and the Silver Challenge for Year 2
- Children are encouraged to choose their own books to enjoy and take home across the school; from the class library in Reception and Year 1 and from within colour bands in KS2
- The junior library has a teacher dedicated to the running and promotion of its use, training keen Year 5 librarians to assist. This library is open during selected lunchtimes and is available to all classes to use.
- Favourite books are shared again across the infants during Story time, allowing them to revisit the books they love
- During ERIC whole class reading sessions, carefully selected book extracts are sometimes used as ‘hooks’ to introduce stories. Where possible, these books are then displayed, available for the children borrow if they are interested.
- Teachers promote reading through book recommendations and are always ready to recommend books to their classes. Click here for videos of some teachers sharing their top books
- The Reading Corner on our school website contains dozens of book readings suitable for children across all age groups, read by Emmer Green teachers and staff
- World Book Day is a high profile event at Emmer Green Primary School with a strong focus on the enjoyment of reading, primarily through sharing books - with peers, with other year groups, with adults and whole classes. See some examples of what we do on World Book Day at the bottom of this page.
- Ensuring book corners in the classroom and libraries are inviting and welcoming
- Reading competitions and library quizzes are offered during the year
- Recommending books to peers, formally in book presentations and informally in discussions
- ‘Drop Everything and Read’ sessions where the whole school stops everything and reads for 15 minutes
- Allotting time in assemblies for children to perform poetry that they have memorised
- Organising author events to learn about how books are written and to be inspired to read their work
- Grandparent reading sessions in Reception to encourage sharing stories across the generations
- Reading Dog: Fly the reading dog visits Year 1 to listen to children to read
We regularly undertake pupil, parent and staff surveys (taken from the Open University’s Reading for Pleasure project: https://ourfp.org/ ) to pinpoint strengths and where improvements can be made within our school community.
In January 2020, our Reading for Pleasure surveys told us:
- 83% of parents surveyed feel very confident or confident in supporting their child to enjoy reading independently
- 77% of parents surveyed read with their child at home at least twice a week (not including school books).
- 75% of parents surveyed say their child CHOOSES to read at home by themselves at least twice a week and 48% do so daily.
- The vast majority of children enjoy listening to their teacher read because their teacher “did all the voices”, “used expression” and it “meant they could relax”. Other comments were that the teacher “has a nice, clear voice and reads fast.”
- 77% of parents said their child saw them as a keen reader (and therefore a role model for reading)
- 90% of children surveyed said their teacher loved reading
- Across the school, the most popular choice of reading material was overwhelmingly story books, followed by picture books, comics and then magazines.
- Only 30% regularly shared books with friends or family member who were not their parents.
- The number of children who said they ‘loved’ reading fell to an average of 48% in the juniors, compared to 70% in the infants.
Our reading ambassadors are nominated children from Year 4, 5 and 6 who are passionate about reading and keen to spread that passion to their peers across the school. They meet regularly with Mrs Herbert and Mr Jackson to plan ways of promoting reading for pleasure across the whole school.
Their current plans are:
- Set up Book Clubs for targeted year groups, using a selected book that the Reading Ambassadors love
- Write to local bookshops to ask for prizes for the Reading Olympiad to encourage more children to take part
- Come up with a list of the best books in each category to share in their classes
- Add star stickers to recommended reads in their own class book corners
- Arrange Story Time sessions in Reception and Year 1
- Organise a restricted section in the library for challenging (Black banded) books, for Year 6 only
World Book Day
This annual event has a huge profile at Emmer Green Primary School and is always used to promote a love of reading and the sharing of good books. The activities are always varied, fun and based on texts.
Here are some activities from World Book Day 2022:
Year 5 drew out timelines of important books in their lives so far:
Dress Your Door Competition
Each class dressed their door as a book their class loved for a school competition. Here are some of the entries: