Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Children’s and young people’s reading: latest research and recent articles

IMG_1532It’s ages since my last news update, so here’s a bumper crop of reports and articles, enhanced by the fabulous library at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Malmesbury, where I enjoyed providing inset this week.

Reading England’s future: mapping how well the poorest children read charts reading disadvantage in England. Lots of interesting findings.

New research shows technology can be more effective in engaging young children with reading than books and is especially beneficial  with poor children and boys. It’s worth reading this response telling us not to believe the hype.

Another study demonstrates the value of reading for pleasure, in particular the long term benefits to vocabulary.

In other research, we learn that teenagers prefer the printed page to ebooks, and that reading schemes to support Y7 students with poor literacy made no difference to their progress.

There have been lots of interesting articles recently on the Guardian children’s book website. Do read Frank Cottrell Boyce on how the ways reading is taught can destroy reading enjoyment, and this response saying guided reading is a major deterrent to reading enjoyment. ‘I love books so why do I hate studying English GCSE?’ is a powerful piece. I was very struck by an article on ‘sick lit’ and why labels in literature aren’t helpful, and another on whether authors of YA novels glamorise crime, or help readers to avoid it. I also liked author Cate Sampson’s call for more portrayals that reflect how women really are.

Still on the gender theme, two pieces on boys’ reading: ‘My boy and his books’ and ‘How do we get more boys reading – clue, boy books aren’t the answer’.

It’s great that there are so many excellent blogs about books for children and young people. You can find out about some of the best here.

I am very pleased that the first ever comics laureate Dave Gibbons is going to champion children’s literacy.

And how wonderful that CLPE’s core book list is now freely available online. An invaluable resource for primary schools.

Finally, Philip Pullman advises us on what we should say if we want to get a child to read a book. ‘This book is not appropriate for your age, and it has all sorts of horrible things in it like sex and death, and some really big and complicated ideas, and you’re better off not touching it until you’re grown up. I’m going to put it on this shelf and leave the room for a while. Don’t open it.’