Reading for Pleasure
At St Francis CE Primary School, we know and recognise that reading is a core skill, central to all learning, and fundamental towards being able to lead life in all its fullness (John 10:10).
Reading for Pleasure more specifically, has been proven to promote academic attainment and achievement, emotional resilience, mental wellbeing, and personal development. OFSTED recognised this in their report 'Research evidence on reading for pleasure' back in 2012.
With the aim of promoting reading for pleasure, staff at St Francis ensure the following strategies are in place:
Set times for reading for pleasure: as much as possible, this should happen daily straight after lunch for 10 minutes. Every Friday there is an expectation that a longer reading for pleasure time will take place during the morning: possibly alongside Cracking Comprehension and changing home reading books. Teachers are encouraged to use the Research Hub as often as they can to promote reading for pleasure.
Effective reading for pleasure is where some or all of these are apparent:
- Children are able to share a book with a friend
- Children are encouraged to talk about their book with their friend (‘book talk’)
- Adults also read to themselves or share a book with another child
- Children are able to sit wherever they like and wherever they feel most comfortable
- Reading comics and magazines is encouraged
Reading for pleasure doesn't have to be silent!
Class Reading Areas
In order to promote reading for pleasure further, every class should have an attractive and child-friendly reading area. The reading area should look inviting and look ‘special’.
The reading area should NOT follow a half-termly class theme (such as: Under the Sea or The Vikings) which can exclude children if they do not particularly enjoy that theme. It should be an inviting reading space:
- Front facing shelves
- Around 50 books on display at any one time (to be changed termly/half-termly)
- Soft furnishings for children to sit on
- Attractive touches such as plants, posters, picture frames
- A range of genres clearly labelled: fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, comics, magazines, poetry, picture books
- Evidence of children’s interactions with reading: voting for favourite books, book reviews, photos of children reading books in unusual places etc.
- Strategies for reading support and VIPERS posters MUST NOT be in the reading area.
Children should be encouraged to use the reading area during reading for pleasure times every day.
At the end of every day every child should experience listening to a class novel being read, ideally not just from the class teacher. Class novels are also part of the planned reading spine and include a range of genres.
The class novel must not be used as a reading comprehension tool: questions about plot, character and themes shouldn’t be discussed during this special reading time. Ideally, a special atmosphere for reading the novel should be created: switching off lights, children facing a different way in class, children allowed to change seating position.
St Francis CE Primary School have a lovely Research Hub area which incorporates a library. This is not timetabled for use but class teachers and support staff are encouraged to use it with groups, individuals and whole-classes as much as possible, to promote a love of reading, and reading for pleasure.
In KS2 children choose their own home reading book based on their assessed reading level. This is usually done on Friday mornings within reading for pleasure time. Children are encouraged to record their reading using Purple Mash’s electronic reading journal. Teaching staff are required to check that individuals are changing their books often. Where this is not the case, a phone home to parents/carers is needed.
Cherry Tree Library
Following a successful programme of visits for every year group last academic year, this will be continuing into this year.
Every Wednesday afternoon, a class will visit Cherry Tree Library, 2.45 – 3.25pm. On these library visit afternoons, parents are asked to pick up their child directly from the library with the aim of them staying a while longer and choosing more books with their child.
Children from Y1 to Y6 have all got their own Library Membership card now, and are expected to bring it to school on their library visit day. School Spiders should be sent to remind parents/carers of these visits.
We have a number of parents/carers who come into school each week to listen to some of our children reading. This promotes a love of reading for these children and provides them with some quiet one-to-one time with their adult.
We would encourage any parents/carers/grandparents to volunteer to become one of our volunteer readers if they have some time in their week. Full training is offered.
Our Y6 Librarians are very important when it comes to promoting reading for pleasure. As well as keeping the library areas around school tidy and attractive, they give up their lunchtimes to read with children from our Reception and Y1 classes.
World Book Day
We aim to promote reading for pleasure as much as possible whilst also considering our parents/carers and the stress that added purchases can cause - such as buying unnecessary costumes. We don't ask children to dress up at World Book Day as we do not think that this promotes a love of reading. Instead we plan a range of activities, based on real, high quality books, whereby children can really experience reading for pleasure. We get our parents/carers involved too, Last year a number of our brave parents/carers recorded themselves reading a book. The recordings were played to every class which allowed our children to see that their own grown-ups enjoy reading too!