Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Latest reports and articles about children’s and young people’s reading

Time for my occasional round-up of reading related reports and articles.

First though, a delightful conversation I overheard the other day in the car park of our local woods:

Dad: Let’s go for a walk.
Little girl: I don’t want to go for a walk.
Mum: Let’s look for the Gruffalo.

All set off happily.

In the light of this, it’s interesting that picture books that tell a story help toddlers learn language more effectively than vocabulary books. A Sussex University psychologist has discovered the best way to aid pre-school children’s language and literacy is to read familiar stories to them again and again – just what children ask for, in fact. New Australian research proves the benefits of reading to children in terms of reading and cognitive skills. It is sad and disturbing however to find that many parents now read to their children not for pleasure but to get them ahead.

Still on the topic of young children and reading, this piece questions whether picture books reinforce materialism.

The other articles that have caught my eye relate to an older audience. Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, has written a thought-provoking piece on the importance of reading for pleasure in the teenage years, and the challenges of making it happen, highlighting, among other things, the role of the school library. School librarian Barbara Band has written a very interesting response. ‘Beyond World Book Day’, in the latest edition of Books for Keeps, also explores how school librarians are promoting reading enjoyment. Librarians and teachers can find further inspiration from this valuable list of 12 alternatives to school book report, and from school librarians’ list of their top 100 titles.

Finally, an important report on improving literacy in secondary schools from Ofsted, with lots of useful ideas for supporting literacy across the curriculum, and yet more on the benefits of good school libraries.