By Laura Lodge on 27 Feb 2020
Building a love of Reading is so important. Research shows that Reading for Pleasure makes more difference to children’s life chances than their socio-economic background or their parents’ level of education (Sullivan and Brown, 2013 ). From an academic standpoint, children who read regularly at age 10, gain higher results at age 16 in Vocabulary, Spelling and even Maths (McGrane et al, 2017 ). Reading’s positive impact on mental health and empathy has also been noted (Billington, 2015 ), with studies showing that people who read for pleasure usually have higher levels of self-esteem and can better cope with difficult situations. On Thursday 5th March, schools around the world will be celebrating #WorldBookDay. This wonderful day, designed to celebrate the power of Reading and books, provides us with an opportunity to think deeply about how we are prioritising Reading in our schools and settings. The theme for this year is ‘Let’s Share a Million Stories’ and as usual the World Book Day website www.worldbookday.com is filled to the brim with ideas, activities and competitions.
At the beginning of February, members of the One Education Literacy team, shared some of our favourite stories on our Twitter account to celebrate #NationalStorytellingWeek. We welcome schools using the videos to get ideas for new texts to try or simply enjoy watching as part of #WorldBookDay celebrations. Many schools have recognised the importance of books being the central focus of the day. We have heard about some amazing plans in schools we work with, such as forming Reading Ninja teams; sharing bedtime with a book; creating Reading family trees and much more. Some schools choose to share one text across the whole school, with each class working on the text for the whole day, or week surrounding #WorldBookDay. This is a wonderful way of connecting learning throughout school, whatever time of year you choose to do it!
If you would like to run a similar project, our top recommended whole school texts are:
But what can you do to ensure books are celebrated every day of the year, not only on #WorldBookDay? In order for children to build that love of Reading which is so important, books and Reading need to be central to school practice. Here are our top thinking points to support you to build a Reading for Pleasure culture in your school:
• Are quality texts at the heart of everything you do? Are books used to support learning in every curriculum area? Are links between texts and subjects, including across year groups, made clear to children? Do you celebrate books and Reading? How often do children visit the local library? Do children ever get to meet authors and illustrators in school? What is the impact of this?
• Is Reading for Pleasure a priority in your timetable? Reading for Pleasure might be on every year group timetable, but do you know how much is being done in practice? If Reading for Pleasure is always done at the end of the day, how many times does it get pushed out by other subjects? Does every teacher read aloud to their class regularly? Do staff, other than the class teacher, share books and a love of Reading with classes? Could books become a key focus for assemblies and other shared activities?
• Do children see themselves as readers? Do children understanding that reading is not just about reading a book? How often do children read? What are their opinions on books and Reading? How do you know about children’s opinions on Reading and books? Do they have ideas on how to make Reading a priority at school?
• Are staff being good reading role models? Do children see staff reading for pleasure? Do staff understand children’s preferences? Can they make recommendations to children about what to read next? How do you all keep up to date with new texts?
• Are the books and texts you have in school engaging and wide ranging? Can children see themselves in the characters they read and the authors who write the books at school? Do children’s opinions influence your choice of texts? How many types of reading material do you have in school apart from physical books? When do children access the school library? How often do you invest in texts?
• Do parents and carers see the importance of Reading for pleasure? Do they know how to support their child to read for pleasure, not just because they have to? How do you engage parents to read for pleasure themselves? What do you do to support parents who may not be literate themselves? Do parents and carers have the opportunity to read with their children in school?
Asking yourself and your staff the questions above will help you to start a wider conversation about reading in your school. We have a wealth of resources for promoting Reading as part of our One Education Reading Award. For more information please visit our Reading Award webpage or email Laura.Lodge@oneeducation.co.uk
COMPETITION! To celebrate #WorldBookDay we are giving away a FREE place on the One Education Literacy Conference on the 8th October. To enter, please visit our Twitter account For more information about this year’s Literacy Conference please visit our webpage Literacy Conference
Reading underpins everything we do in life. If we can get it right, and get every child Reading for Pleasure, we can make a huge difference. So go and celebrate #WorldBookDay, but please make sure to build a love of books that lasts for every child’s lifetime.