Tag archives: reading for pleasure

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Children’s and young people’s reading – a round-up of recent news and articles

dream jarsI loved the BFG dream jars that sprung up over London during the holidays, and it was great watching children and families swarming round them. A lovely celebration of Roald Dahl and of books and reading.

It’s not only a new school year, but also Read a Book Day, so definitely a good time to catch up on reading news and articles from the last couple of months.

Anyone with an interest in reading knows it has all sorts of advantages. Perhaps the most intriguing recent finding is that people who read books live longer lives.

The right way to bribe your kids to read – a deliberately provocative title – looks at the best ways for parents to support children’s reading. As the author says, extrinsic motivation doesn’t necessarily lead to an intrinsic desire to read. Lovely that taking children to the library, being a reading role model, talking to children about books and having lots of books at home are more effective than cash.

The merits of reading real books to your children explores the value of sharing books with children, particularly the benefits of paper books over digital ones.

Tough times out there? Here’s why reading with your kids is more important now than ever is useful and illuminating. Reading to children supports empathy and understanding as well as their overall development.

I liked this article on the importance of rare words for children’s learning and literacy, and why reading books helps.

The NUT reading for pleasure site has been revamped and has lots of practical tips and ideas.

Very good to see a focus on whole school literacy and on importance of school library in How to create a positive reading culture in your school from the TES.

Seven top tips for getting students reading by school librarian Joel Crowley is valuable too. Sharing your enthusiasm is quite rightly number one.

It’s worth reading the Learning Spy, aka David Didau’s new blog post 5 things every new (secondary) teacher should know about reading.

The problem with female protagonists is a very interesting article on the need for, and the insufficient numbers of, fictional female role-models for everyone.

New research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation includes disturbing data about young adults’ literacy. England is the only country in the OECD where the average literacy score for the youngest age group (16-18 years old) is lower than that of the oldest age group (55 to 65 years old).

A TES article by Joe Nutt about YA fiction caused a huge furore over the summer. Juno Dawson wrote a powerful rebuttal. There was a Today programme discussion between Joe Nutt and Francesca Simon (2 hours 18 minutes in). YA author Julie Mayhew has also written a valuable response to original article. And this is a powerful riposte from a 16 year-old student.

Finally, a warming story about Doorstep Library, which takes books and reading to disadvantaged children.

 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Children’s reading news – a summer update

reading mugs
Another round-up of recent reading news and articles, illustrated by my lovely reading related mugs, all given to me by my equally reading besotted daughter.

An important new study on teaching reading through synthetic phonics has found that this helps children from poor backgrounds and EAL children, but has no long-term benefits for the average child.

More new research tells us that boys who live with books earn more as adults.

Since my last blog on reading the National Literacy Trust has published its annual report on children and young people’s reading.  Reading enjoyment is going up, but the gulf between enjoyment at primary and secondary levels is sadly growing, as is that between boys and girls. In his foreword Director Jonathan Douglas points out the clear correlation between attainment and reading enjoyment, frequency and attitudes. ‘The more that can be done to develop and sustain children’s intrinsic motivation to read throughout their school journey, the more success they will enjoy both academically and in future life.’

Author Nicola Morgan has created a list of the benefits of reading for pleasure.

If you can’t imagine things, how can you learn? is fascinating. Significant numbers of people cannot conjure up mental images, and this impacts, among other things, on their ability to learn to read, on comprehension, on retaining and recalling information and on grasping abstract concepts.

A report about the age at which children start formal education identifies some key issues in relation to literacy. New Zealand research shows that the early introduction of formal learning approaches to literacy does not improve children’s reading development, and may be damaging. ‘By 11 there was no difference in reading ability level between the two groups, but the children who started at 5 developed less positive attitudes to reading, and showed poorer text comprehension than those children who had started later.’ A separate study of reading achievement in 15 year olds across 55 countries showed that there was no significant association between reading achievement and school entry age.

It’s worth reading a head of English on the importance of schools making time for reading. ‘Schools being all about education, you’d think reading would be at the centre of the curriculum and school life. Wrong’ says Dr Kornel Kossuth.

Those interested in literacy across the curriculum may be interested in this article on literacy’s role in boosting maths outcomes.

It’s always good to hear young people’s perspectives on reading. I found Why teenagers are resistant to e-readers extremely interesting.

That article, along with many I’ve quoted in blogs about children reading, was published on the Guardian children’s books website. It’s always been a source of invaluable information and inspiration. Sad news indeed that it’s closing.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Children’s and teenagers’ reading: recent news and views

monkey readingI love this picture from a museum in Orvieto in Italy. A great illustration for my latest round-up of reading news and articles.

Finland has just been named as the world’s most literate nation, while the UK is ranked 17th.

The National Literacy Trust has published a new survey about early literacy practices at home.

A poll for International Children’s Book Day revealed that half of parents think reading a book is the best way to develop empathy.

The Reading Agency has launched a scheme to support young people’s mental health through books in public libraries.

Teen author Alex Whale considers whether reading children’s books can help tackle knife crime.

Author Natasha Carthew has written an important piece on the lack of working class culture in children’s books.

Ross Montgomery explores the difficulty and importance of writing diverse children’s books.

School librarian Barbara Band’s blog Reading schemes or reading for pleasure? is well worth a look.

There are good ideas here for promoting reading through the school library.

The Publishers Association is looking to recruit 10,000 ‘reading amabassadors’ to promote reading for pleasure.

Joy Court is very interesting on the impact of the Carnegie and Greenaway awards shadowing scheme on reading.

The shortlist has been announced for the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award.

Teenage reader Ayesha suggests the way to halt the decline in reading for pleasure is to give books a go.

‘The reality of reading to toddlers’ is entertaining and useful.

Finally, an article on why listening to podcasts helps improve reading skills.

 

Friday, 11 March 2016

Picture books and graphic novels at KS2&3 – some great authors, illustrators and titles

IMG_2811Picture books and graphic novels have been something of a theme for me this week. Lovely, because I’m a huge fan, and a strong believer in their importance and value with children and young people in key stage 2 and beyond. In the words of a wise 11 year-old: ‘You can never be too old for picture books.’ On Wednesday I spoke at the Babcock Schools Library Service based in Devon conference on reading for pleasure, and was followed by the Etherington brothers, who were very entertaining about how they produce their graphic novels and how they get students excited about the medium. Very interesting to hear that their books are equally popular with boys and girls, but that they like them for different reasons: girls for the characters, boys for the explosions. Then yesterday I was delighted to give a course on using graphic novels and picture books at key stages 2 and 3. The training room at Westminster Schools Library Service was jammed with great book displays. We had fabulous discussions about the role of illustrated books in terms of reading skills and reading enjoyment and in supporting learning generally. We explored dozens of titles and ways to use and promote them. I loved all the ideas for bringing reading alive and changing attitudes to reading. These authors, illustrators and titles come strongly recommended.  (There are lots more excellent suggestions here.)

Chris van Allsburg, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick and other titles
David Almond, Bird, Mouth, Snake, Wolf
Jeannie Baker, Mirror
Barroux, Line of Fire
Andrea Beatty, Rosie Revere Engineer
Aaron Becker, Journey
Cece Bell, El Deafo
Raymond Briggs, Ethel and Ernest
Fanny Britt, Jane, the Fox and Me
Anthony Browne, Voices in the Park and other titles
Emily Carroll, Through the Woods
Toni S Daniel, Superman/Wonder Woman Vol.1: Power Couple      
Neil Gaiman, Coraline, Graveyard Book, Wolves in the Walls
Sarah Garland, Azzi in Between
Emily Gravett, Meerkat Mail, Rabbit Problem and other titles
Armin Greder, The Island      
Mini Grey, Hermelin the Detective Mouse and other titles
Isobel Harrop, The Isobel Journal      
Libby Hathorn, Way Home
Eric Heuvel, A Family Secret
Anthony Horowitz, all the graphic novel adaptations
Virginia Ironside, The Huge Book of Worries
Ben Morley, The Silence Seeker
Mal Peet, Mysterious Traveler
Levi Pinfold, Black Dog    
Andrew Rae, Moonhead and the Music Machine
Rick Riordan, Heroes of Olympus: Lost Hero     
Michael Rosen, Sad Book
Joe Sacco, Palestine    
Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis Volume 1 and Volume 2
John Scieszka, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, The Frog Prince Continued
Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck, The Marvels
Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen, The Dark
Art Spiegelman, Complete Maus  
Shaun Tan, The Arrival and other titles
Colin Thompson, How to Love Forever, Paperbag Prince and other titles
Alvaro F. Villa, Flood
Helne Ward, Varmints
David Wiesner, Flotsam, Tuesday
Marcia Williams, Archie’s War, My Secret War Diary and other titles
G. Willow Wilson, Ms. Marvel Vol.1: No Normal 

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Great quotes about books and reading in celebration of World Book Day

IMG_2733I gave a course in Dorchester Library last week, and was delighted to see this plaque in pride of place. Today is World Book Day – the perfect time to share some brilliant quotes about books and reading. (There are lots more here.)

  • Books are, let’s face it, better than everything else. Nick Hornby
  • Books are the mirrors of the soul. Virginia Woolf
  • You’ll never be alone if you’ve got a book. Al Pacino
  • To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life. W. Somerset Maugham
  • Once you learn to read, you will be forever free. Frederick Douglas
  • There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island. Walt Disney
  • Reading is a first class ticket to the outer limits of your imagination. Juno Dawson
  • Stories … are genuinely symbiotic organisms that we live with, that allow human beings to advance. Neil Gaiman
  • Reading makes the world better. Matt Haig
  • The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. St Augustine
  • What makes lovemaking and reading resemble each other most is that within both of them times and spaces open, different from measurable time and space. Italo Calvino
  • The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one that makes you think. Harper Lee
  • I guess that’s the beauty of books. When they finish they don’t really finish. Markus Zusak
  • Books should go where they will be most appreciated, and not sit unread, gathering dust on a forgotten shelf. Christopher Paolini
  • If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book. J K Rowling
  • I read a lot of junk, but that didn’t matter – you have to dig a heap of rocks if you’re looking for gold. Terry Pratchett
  • Wear the old coat and buy the new book. Austin Phelps