Reading for Pleasure
Why read for pleasure? Evidence suggests that children who read for pleasure every day not only perform better academically, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of others. Some studies go as far as to say that reading for pleasure is more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or economic background.
How do we encourage reading for pleasure at Blackheath High School? We have a well-resourced library that girls can access from the Nursery up to Year 6. Classes visit the library each week and have wide-ranging sections to choose from non-fiction books on inspirational women, growth mindset, and anti-bullying to fictional characters such as Pippi Longstocking, Harry Potter and Jo March. In each classroom we have a supply of books that girls can read and the joy of reading is celebrated in displays around the school. There are also suggested reading lists on Firefly for each year group and a Mighty Girls box that each KS2 class gets to keep for two weeks. Year 5 and 6 girls are often spotted walking around the school with their pencil case, iPad and a book. It is lovely to overhear their conversations about these books as they recommend different books to one another.
How can this be encouraged at home? Take time to read to, and with, your child; even after they learn to read by themselves. Reading stories that are on their interest level but beyond their reading level can stretch their understanding and motivate them to continue to work on their skills. I know how difficult it can be when your device is buzzing with the next email but children mimic what they see. If they observe parents on a device they will want to copy that. Devices do have their place but as JK Rowling said, ‘I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book’. Obviously, reading is the tool that allows children to access knowledge but it is so much more than that. It increases our understanding of our identity, improves our empathy and gives us an insight into the views of others.
If you would like to share some pictures on Twitter of you and/or your daughters’ reading please do so with the hashtag #BlackheathHighreads.