Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Power of Reading for Pleasure

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The School Library and Reading for Pleasure

The more a child likes to read, the more he reads.
The more a child reads the better at reading and writing she becomes.
Believe it or not, the research shows that there is great educational power in children reading for pleasure.

One of the most important roles of the school library is to help students get books they want to read into their hands.

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What helps a child learn to enjoy reading?

Children love to read when...

.... they get to select the books themselves
.... they can curl up in a comfortable spot to read.
... they are excited about the topic

Here is some great, practical advice from Daniel T. Willingham, the author of Raising Kids Who Read, 2015:

"As children age, their teachers place increasing demands and limitations on reading. Children are given less choice, the material becomes more complex, and they are expected to do more with the texts. Make sure that your child remembers that leisure reading is different from reading for school. Leisure reading is purely for fun, so you can drop books if you want, skim over the parts you don’t like, peek at the ending and so on.
Second, children’s schedules become more crowded as they grow, so make books easily available for snippets of free time. Put a basket of books in the minivan next to the car seat, and keep a book with you when you run errands. And because most children will choose a video (or video game, or phone app) over a book, put limits on screen time to make space for reading.
Finally, and most important, parents should model good reading habits for children. Show your child that you believe reading is valuable. Talk about what you are reading, and ask your child about what he or she is reading. Children read more when they know their parents value reading for the pleasure it brings, rather than its role in academic success. So pick out a great book for yourself, and let them see you read!" (excerpted from the New York Times, March 19, 2015)

Reading aloud to children is a great way to inspire children to love reading. Even older children enjoy being read to. 

Bedtime Stories for Young Brains from the August 17, 2015 New York Times

There was even a study done in England about how reading for pleasure makes us more empathetic. The message here - reading for pleasure makes us better people. Why reading for pleasure is important.

Newbery Award winning author, Neil Gaiman, says Let Children Read the Books They Love.

Other Resources and Research on The Power of Reading for Pleasure


The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller
The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators edited by Anita Silvey
A Family of Readers by Roger Sutton & Martha V. Parravano
Great Books about Things Kids Love by Kathleen Odean
The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research, 2nd Edition, 2004 by Stephen D. Krashen
Raising Bookworms: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment by Emma Walton Hamilton
The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children will Change Their Lives forever by Mem Fox


The Power of Reading for Pleasure - Ms. J's Animoto on reading for fun
The Power of Reading a lecture by Stephen Krashen