Reading and Wellbeing in school

"Children who engage with reading are three times more likely to have high levels of mental wellbeing than those who do not" - National Literacy Trust, September 2018

Reading is an extraordinary thing.

We know that young children who enjoy reading independently have opened the door opened to new discoveries and wider interests, to knowledge, creativity, and confidence.

Reading is a critical route to fully engaging with all subjects as well as providing wider opportunities for giving more and getting more from life and work. Here are some familiar benefits to reading...

Reading helps you retain knowledge, training the brain to help with information recall

Reading inspirational books can contribute massively to personal growth and development

Reading broadens vocabulary in a way which lasts

It can make your imagination run wild and put you in a world of your own. Reading helps you relax and escape

Being able to read fluently increases emotional intelligence and empathy, which can reduce stress

Reading helps develop and use critical and analytical thinking skills

Reading has also been proven to be a really powerful tool to help support and maintain positive wellbeing. Our Research Partners the National Literacy Trust have studied this topic in more depth.

Want to know what this research said?

Research from the

National Literacy Trust

Predictors of mental-wellbeing

During extensive research undertaken by the National Literacy Trust In 2018, they found that “reading attitudes" were the strongest predictors of mental wellbeing. So, the more positive children and young people feel about reading and writing, and the more they enjoy reading and writing, the higher their scores on our mental wellbeing index.

Literacy Engagement

Children who are the least engaged with literacy are twice as likely to have low levels of mental wellbeing than their peers who are the most engaged (37.4% vs 15%)

Primary vs Secondary

As children transition from primary to secondary school, their levels of literacy engagement and mental wellbeing both begin and continue to decline.

An Innovative Solution

In response to how significantly a childs 'reading attitude' influences their wellbeing, we have teamed up with the School Library Association and the National Literacy Trust to create...

WELLBEING THROUGH READING

reading attitudes
and habits

Enables your school to capture data on both attitudes to reading and wellbeing using questionnaires that are underpinned by validated research

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rapid, data-capture
platform

The BounceTogether platform will allow schools to measure and dissect this information at school, year and class level, as well by key demographics. Better yet, your included SLA membership can help suggest activities based on these results

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wider research and national reporting

The National Literacy Trust will use anonymised data for research to further understand the relationship between reading and wellbeing so we can understand the wider impact on children and young people

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How can this support your reading strategy?

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Learn more about your pupils' reading attitudes and habits and help identify those who need extra support
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Plot a wellbeing measure against reading attitudes to correlate how reading impacts wellbeing in your school
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Includes SLA membership so you get access to invaluable resources to help you promote and develop reading across your school
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Gives you instant evidence that your reading strategy is making a difference
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Paint a picture of the reading attitudes across your school by year group and class

Hear more from Alison Tarrant
@ the SLA...

Blog Post: 15.11.2019
Author: 
There is a significant base of research that shows the impact that reading for pleasure can have, many sources reporting that the benefits of reading for pleasure as being ‘reciprocal and exponential’. It’s also been deemed by the OECD as being ‘more important for children’s educational success than their parents’ socio-economic status.’ And there’s plenty more – available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/research-evidence-on-reading-for-pleasure

So, we know it’s worth doing, but how can you promote reading for pleasure? It’s not something that can be ‘taught’ – as Frank Cottrell Boyce says – it needs to be shared. Teresa Cremin talks about giving children the ‘will and the skill’ – they need to be ‘taught’ how to read but also be given the passion for it. This may come from the teacher – they are certainly an important role model, but it also needs to come from children themselves; it is a community where reading is an important,shared pleasurable activity.

But how can that be created in every school?

Any community is created of individuals, and it’s important to start with them. A child’s attitude to reading is an indicator of how successfully a reading culture is being created, and also provides a fantastic starting point for creating one.

As a school librarian, I created an ‘Attitude to Reading’ survey, which allowed me to gain some insight into the students in school. It highlights things such as preferred genres, what they are currently reading, and gives insight into the familial reading culture.

This provided me with essential insight into the class or year group and allowed me to select groups for ‘interventions’ – those who weren’t reading frequently, or those who weren’t reading a wide range of materials would be given specific challenges or support to help them. As a class teacher these may be done by you, or your school librarian, and the data should be shared – both of you will need to be aware and contribute to develop a reading culture.

When I used to do them, it involved me doing it in paper format and then manually scoring the papers – it was a significant investment of time, but they were so helpful it was worth doing. This is part of the reason I am so delighted to be working with BounceTogether on an exciting new concept called ‘Wellbeing through Reading’. BounceTogether does all the scoring for you – allowing you to see the answers by individual, class or year group. The survey can be done in class – emphasising the fact that it’s not a test, but about their opinions so there are no wrong answers.

To enable every school to develop this vital reading culture every subscription to ‘Wellbeing through Reading’ will include a membership to the School Library Association, so you can talk to an expert about what the results show, and what activities/resources/lessons may help improve the reading culture for these pupils.

This was part of the induction activity for the library and allowed me to get to know each of my users really well. It provided a starting point for conversations with pupils and their parents; I used to select the number who showed the most negative attitudes and speak to their parents individually; to start to bridge the gap which sometimes existed, and also to gain some insight into their child. It is also useful to see if the resources that you are providing access to (whether through a school or class library) are right for this cohort – different changes in interest can impact how well books appeal to a cohort.

Most importantly though, the results of the survey enable you to have a starting conversation with students; identify what their personal barriers to reading for pleasure are and enable them to see that you are ‘on their side’.

Having the data collected across a school can be really useful in identifying any outliers – either children who feel less negatively about reading, or entire classes that are less engaged – so that some support can be put in place.

-- Alison

You get even more with Wellbeing through Reading

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This innovative product comes equipped with a School Library Association membership, bringing you a range of benefits to help ensure every child can progress on their reading journey

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Help and advice

Access to an advice line. Once you have the results of the Attitude to Reading survey one of our experts can help you understand what they mean, and suggest activities to help based on your unique context

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Free resources

Exclusive member-only resources such as lesson plans, activity sheets aimed at all ages to promote a continued positive attitude to reading. A large number of book and digital reviews are available to help you develop your knowledge and practice.

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Training and courses

We offer member discounted online, day or weekend courses along with a free mentoring service to help you develop a whole school reading culture, encouraging reading for pleasure, reading across the curriculum and information literacy.

Want to know more? Book a free online demo.

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