Reading for Pleasure
“Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s future success.” OECD 2002
A child learning to read is embarking on a journey of discovery, complete with challenges, pitfalls and rewards along the way. While the careful teaching of systematic synthetic phonics is vital to showing children how to read the words on the page, we have to acknowledge that this doesn’t necessarily give them everything they need to succeed on their reading journey.
More than giving children skills for comprehension and prosody, we also have to show them the majesty of literature.
There are many different facets to developing a reading for pleasure pedagogy and at St Martin’s we are committed to continuing to develop this so that our school has an embedded culture of reading for enjoyment. Our aim is for children to be so excited about reading that they are wanting to read under the covers with a torch after lights out!
Here are some of the ways we promote a love of reading:
- Our headteacher’s award system is based around our Book Vending machine
- All children have a library slot and take home a book which they have chosen to read for enjoyment.
- All classes have a Book Nook space to read and books that are within these spaces are carefully chosen so that children can re-read old favourites, learn more about their current interests and be enticed to try something new.
- We strive to create a community of readers which includes staff and parents. There is a reciprocal system of book recommendations and book chats.
Every child is read aloud to several times a week.
- We have a buddy system where year 6 pupils are linked with Reception pupils to read together.
- Children take responsibility for taking care of their library.
Windows, Mirrors and Doors
“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of a larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books.” Rudine Sims-Bishop
The 2018 Reflecting Realities report found that only 4% of children’s books had a Black or Minority Ethnic (BAME) main character. This is significantly disproportionate considering that 33.1% of school age children are from BAME backgrounds. We have invested in the purchase of books for our library which ensures that the books and the authors and illustrators that children have access to reflect more accurately the diversity of the families in our school community and the wider population. We also want to represent the wide range of family and home situations that our children come from. We are committed to continually review our reading provision and teaching materials to ensure that we offer a mirror to a wider proportion of our community and also give all children a chance to step through a glass door and learn more about the experiences of others.