Monday, 2 March 2020

Reading news – latest research and articles

IMG_0764Lots of valuable and interesting research about children’s and young people’s reading has been published in the last couple of months, and several useful articles. The run-up to World Book Day seems a good time for a round-up.

Depressing news first. A new study shows that children are reading less than ever before, and reading enjoyment is going down.

Several recent surveys focus on reading aloud, some looking at the home reading environment, others at reading aloud in school. ‘Reading aloud with your class – what does the research say?’ provides a useful overview, and introduces the new EEF Story Time Trial.

Research by publishers Egmont indicates that regular reading and listening to stories for pleasure improves reading comprehension in children by double the expected rate, and that comprehension falls without storytime.

A study by BookTrust reveals that more than a quarter of a million UK primary school children are experiencing literary poverty. 345,000 primary school children in the UK receive less than 15 minutes of shared reading a week. One in seven parents or carers never read their child a bedtime story.

In further disturbing news, it seems that formally taught phonics sessions are happening from the age of 2 in some early years settings. ‘We seem to be trying to run before we can walk.’

An interesting article in the School Library Journal looks at the evidence for levelled reading approaches, and finds them severely wanting. Tim Shanahan makes a strong case for children reading books at varying degrees of difficulty.

In ‘Testing takes the wonder out of reading’, Colin Harris laments the impact of testing and explores why schools need to promote reading for pleasure, for the sake of children’s wellbeing, knowledge, empathy and social skills. Testing turns reading ‘into a vehicle for comprehension, handwriting and grammar tests, at the expense of love, pleasure and enjoyment.’

A recent study shows that stereotypes about boys’ reading skills create a self-fulfilling prophecy of poor motivation and performance.

A study of students who sat GCSEs in 2018-19 found a significant correlation between students’ reading ability and their eventual performance across all GCSEs. Students who struggle with reading are at a major disadvantage in every subject.

New National Literacy Trust research shows that engagement with audiobooks can benefit children’s reading skills, comprehension and enjoyment, as well as their mental wellbeing and emotional intelligence.

There are lots of great ideas in this piece on creating a reading for pleasure culture in school.

‘Kids and authors alike love Instagram. Here’s how to leverage it to get kids reading’ explores the opportunities created by social media to excite young people about books and reading.

Families with children aged 5 and under are being encouraged to support children’s literacy and language skills from the home using six new apps.

After sharing several pieces of disheartening news here, it feels good to end with a very positive story about teenagers and reading.