The positive impacts of reading for pleasure have been generally accepted by the educational establishment for some time, and yet this does not always seem to match the priorities laid out – either in terms of time within the curriculum or funding provided to support it. Education is now facing one of the biggest challenges, in supporting children’s recovery from the impacts of the pandemic and reading and wellbeing are at the top of the list.
As well as being one of the greatest indicators of academic success, it is generally accepted that reading for pleasure positively affects mental health, self-esteem, empathy, mood and stress.
Books are powerful wellbeing tools in their own right! Reading provides children with endless opportunities to escape from day-to-day worries and explore new situations and different emotions. The process of engaging with many different characters helps children develop their empathy and learn about cultures and relationships. It is also no secret that in difficult times these characters can provide a sense of comfort and help children and adults feel less alone
If we want to motivate young readers, knowing what they like to read and enabling them to choose is essential. Choice and agency in reading matter. Using data from 1194 children aged 8-11 years who took part in the Attitude to Reading survey provided by Bounce Together and written by the School Library Association, Teresa Cremin and Becky Coles of The Open University have put together a fantastic new short report.
Findings highlight the importance of creating time to explore and discover new books as a reader. Reading is a skill essential for a successful life. As well as being one of the greatest indicators of academic success, reading positively affects mental health, self-esteem, empathy, mood and stress. It is not enough to hope that children find their way through a forest of dull, high pressure, unenjoyable reading activities to independent and pleasurable reading.