Category archives: children’s and young people’s reading

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Inspiring reading quotes

boy in Foyles

Apologies for the poor photo quality, but this shot illustrates my latest collection of reading quotes perfectly. This boy was oblivious of everything but his book.

  • Books and reading are magic and this magic must be available to absolutely everyone. Cressida Cowell
  • Reading gives you knowledge, it gives you power. Andy McNabb
  • Reading is the gateway skill that makes all other learning possible. Barack Obama
  • Reading is a way for me to expand my mind, open my eyes, and fill up my heart. Oprah Winfrey
  • Reading enables children to grow emotionally. In all sorts of ways – imaginatively, in terms of self-confidence, it helps them to explore the world beyond the one they live in. Michael Morpurgo
  • If we want children to learn, to grow by understanding and having empathy for others, to thrive, then we must encourage them to read for pleasure. Malorie Blackman
  • What makes a child become a lifelong reader? Not the ability to get good marks on a test. Not the desire to get a good job. It’s PLEASURE. Kids who read for pleasure grow up to be adults who read for themselves – and think for themselves. SF Said
  • Reading empowers children …… when you make a reader, you give them the world. Amanda Spielman
  • Reading is not walking on the words: it’s grasping the soul of them. Paulo Freire

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Summer 2019 children’s reading news update

Cowell's listCressida Cowell was pronounced Children’s Laureate this week. This is her very impressive and important charter – the perfect illustration for my latest children’s reading news update. (You may also like to see the ideas and tips of all her Laureate predecessors about how to children into bookworms.)

The latest National Literacy Trust report on children’s reading shows that reading enjoyment, reading engagement and levels of daily reading are all slightly down.

Recent research tells us that many parents are often too busy or tired to read their children a bedtime story and rely on technology instead, including Alexa.

Hungry Little Minds, which provides guidance on supporting babies’ and young children’s’ learning, including language and literacy, was launched this month

A recent speech to early years practitioners about Ofsted’s approach to the early years contained lots about supporting spoken language and reading.

It’s worth reading ‘Developing pupils’ vocabulary is about more than words’.

‘4 steps to ensure pupils read for pleasure’ has good ideas on helping primary children fall in love with books and reading. I would add using the library.

Teacher and reading champion Jon Biddle’s reading questions will be great for stimulating discussion in classrooms and libraries.

According to a study into what works best for struggling readers in elementary schools, whole class and whole school approaches and one-to-one tutoring are highly effective; technology-supported adaptive instruction is not.

New research suggests that reading aloud is one of the best things secondary English teachers can do to support comprehension and close the advantage gap.

The Education Endowment Federation has published new guidance to help secondary schools improve literacy in all subject areas.

‘Inference: why comprehension is not just about vocabulary and knowledge’ explores ways to teach comprehension skills such as inference.

For inspiration, look at Andy McNab’s recollections about his journey into reading. He was 16 and fresh out of juvenile detention when he read his first book.

Finally, ‘If kids can’t read what they want in the summer, when can they?’ makes a passionate and well-informed case for children to read what they like.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Books for children and young people about refugees and asylum seekers

refugees 4It’s Refugee Week, an appropriate time to update my previous blog on children’s books about refugees and asylum seekers. Since then several organisations have created useful booklists, so rather than replicating them, here are the links:

CLPE Refugee Experience Booklist
Words for Life Refugee Booklist
Booktrust Refugee and Asylum Seekers Booklist (younger children)
Booktrust Refugee and Asylum Seekers Booklist (older children)
Booktrust Refugee and Asylum Seekers Booklist (teenagers) 
Books for Topics Children’s Books about Refugees and Immigration

As is clear from these lists, there are now many wonderful picture books, fiction and information books that will help children who have not experienced enforced migration to gain empathy and understanding about what it means to be a refugee or asylum seeker. Many of the books are invaluable too for refugee and asylum seeking children, who need and deserve books in which they can find people like themselves, books that validate them, their families, their journeys, their emotions. My plea is that every school and every library not only stocks but actively uses and promotes these books. They are truly important. Do have a look at what Gill Lewis, author of A Story Like the Wind, which rightly appears on many of the booklists, has to say on the role of ‘informed storytelling’ about refugees and asylum seekers.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Children’s and young people’s reading – new research, articles and blogs

GreuzeI’m always drawn to pictures of children and books. I discovered this one by Jean Baptiste Greuze in the fascinating Painting Childhood exhibition at Compton Verney. A great illustration for my latest round-up of children’s reading news.

I was very pleased to see storytelling and reading encouraged in WHO guidelines on what under 5s need to grow up healthy.

A ‘Chat, play, read’ campaign has been announced to encourage learning at home.

The National Literacy Trust, in conjunction with OUP and the APPG on Literacy, has published Language Unlocks Reading: Supporting Early Language and Reading for Every Child.

A new survey shows that story time with e-books is not as helpful as with print books. Parents and children interact less when reading electronic books together than printed ones. However, not all studies come to the same conclusion on this.

According to research into 9-18 year-olds’ reading, reading both digital and print formats offers the highest benefit for young people’s literacy.

Another new report reveals a link between children’s reading skills and their ability to manage money.

Author Claire Barker has some useful insights about the power and value of comfort reads.

Primary teachers and librarians, have a look at Scott Evans’ inspiring ‘The rights of the reader teacher‘ (adapted from Daniel Pennac’s The Rights of the Reader).

‘The power of reading aloud’ on the Literacy with Miss P website has lots of useful information and ideas.

‘Forget the classics: let GCSE students read young-adult fiction’ by English teacher Andrew Otty is well worth a look.

Finally, do take a look at this inspiring story about a school which live-streams bedtime stories.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Children’s and young people’s reading – latest news and views

Max & Amazing BabyYou are never too young for books!

It’s a while since my last round-up of recent research and articles about children’s reading, and lots have come out since.

New studies reveal that the number of 8 to 18-year-olds reading for pleasure has dropped to 52.5%, down from 58.8% in 2016, with only a quarter reading daily, compared with 43% in 2015, and that only 32% of British children under 13 are read to daily by an adult for pleasure, 9 percentage points down on 2012.

According to the What Kids Are Reading 2019 report, only a quarter of pupils get the recommended daily time for reading for pleasure. (It’s important to know that this report only surveys children involved in the Accelerated Reader programme, and is not representative of all children or all schools.)

New research demonstrates that parents and carers who regularly read with small children give them a language advantage of eight months. The biggest difference is with receptive language skills, i.e. understanding. Socially disadvantaged children experience slightly more benefit than others.

A study into the Too Small to Fail campaign in the US shows that when doctors explain to parents the value of talking, reading and singing with their babies and children it has a major impact.

The International Literacy Association has produced a list of children’s rights to read. These are the stand-outs for me, none of them surprising, but all of them important to re-iterate:

  • Children have the basic human right to read.
  • Children have the right to choose what they read.
  • Children have the right to read texts that mirror their experiences and languages, provide windows into the lives of others, and open doors into our diverse world.
  • Children have the right to read for pleasure.
  • Children have the right to supportive reading environments with knowledgeable literacy partners.

Also from the ILA, ‘Creating passionate readers through independent reading’ has lots of useful information and ideas.

‘Comprehension is essential to phonics lessons, and picture books are a great place to start’ came out last summer, but I only came across it recently. Worthwhile reading for primary teachers.

Finally, there are lots of great ideas in this post from the Renfrewshire school that won the Literacy School of the Year award in 2018.