Reading for Pleasure: a primer

What is ‘Reading for Pleasure’?

The act of picking up and reading a book (fiction or non-fiction), magazine, comic, screenplay, gaming manual, e-reader or any other item consisting of text, images or a combination thereof for the purpose of reading it for the prime reason of enjoying it!

DID YOU KNOW: that reading for pleasure can also be a learning experience? Yes, while many people think that reading for pleasure is a throwaway activity, usually reserved for ingesting fiction or similar; many readers find reading non-fiction works pleasurable and learning as they go.

How do you encourage Reading for Pleasure?

If you run a Library, make sure that it stocks a wide variety of resources and listen to requests and suggestions from the people that use it to make sure that you are carrying what they want as well as what they need.

When a class comes in to borrow books give them space to choose and make yourself available to help them find something if they are not sure what they want. Do not get offended if they decline what you suggest (even if it is one of your favourite books)

If you see a student pick up a book that you think is too easy for them – bite your tongue! It is not up to you to police their reading habits, by all means recommend something else for them once they have read it but do not make them feel judged for what they choose to read. What may be a momentary comment that you forget soon after you have made may stay with them for a lot longer and colour their future interactions with you and the library.

DID YOU KNOW: that for many young people, shared reading is a pleasurable experience – have you ever seen children crowded round the Guinness Book of Records excitedly reading some of the records to each other – if that does not look like they are enjoying themselves then nothing does!

Seriously I know that in some lessons solitary reading is recommended but if you have a group enjoying a book why not let them get on with it or say half the lesson group reading, the other half solo reading.

If you have a teacher or teachers that demand the students read age-appropriate texts in library lessons maybe have a quiet word with them and see if they are willing to compromise.

Listening to audiobooks is also reading – the words just take a different route to the brain; if a student wants to plug in their earphones to listen to a book they love – let them!

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