Tag archives: reading research

Monday, 27 January 2020

Children’s and young people’s reading – recent reports and research

IMG_3461The latest PISA report was published last month. These are some key national and international findings relating to reading:

  • The UK is now 13th in OECD in terms of 15 year-olds’ reading scores.
  • However pupils in all countries of the UK have more negative attitudes towards reading than the OECD average.
  • Less than 1 in 10 students in OECD countries is able to differentiate facts and opinions.
  • Girls significantly outperform boys in reading on average across OECD countries. The gender gap in the UK is less than the OECD average.

The World Bank and UN report that 90% of children in the world’s poorest countries cannot read a basic book by the age of 10 (whereas in rich countries only 9% cannot do so by the same age).

According to the International Literacy Association’s latest ‘What’s Hot in Literacy’ report the top five most critical issues in literacy education, as selected by respondents, are

  1. Building early literacy skills through a balanced approach that combines both foundational and language comprehension instruction
  2. Determining effective instructional strategies for struggling readers
  3. Increasing equity and opportunity for all learners
  4. Increasing professional learning and development opportunities for
    practicing educators
  5. Providing access to high-quality, diverse books and content

National Literacy Trust research shows that more than 380,000 children in the UK do not own a single book. It matters, because children who own books are six times more likely to read above the level expected for their age and nearly three times more likely to enjoy reading.

Children’s publisher Egmont has produced a paper on trends and challenges in reading for pleasure, based on extensive research. It identifies three key things that create an environment that discourages reading for pleasure:

  • School: the curriculum makes reading a subject to learn, not something to do for fun
  • Screens: increasing time on screen means less time for reading and other activities
  • Parents: lack of awareness that they need to read to their children beyond the point at which the child can read independently

The benefits of parents reading to children are of course well known. New research proves that children have sharper vocabulary skills by age 3 when parents read with them early on.

A recent study concludes that there is little or no evidence that teaching phonics improves reading.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Recent research and articles about children’s reading

book boat - St Andrews CE Primary Kettering

Many thanks to St Andrews CE Primary Kettering for permission to use this photo of their lovely book boats. Such a great idea, and perfect to illustrate my latest round-up of children’s reading news and articles.

Dawn Finch has written a valuable piece on the meaning and importance of reading for pleasure and ways to nurture it in libraries and schools.

Teacher Heather Wright suggest five ways to instil a love of reading in primary schools.

In another article she posits that reading for pleasure should be at the heart of the curriculum, and that quality books are a must, not a luxury.

‘Reading Corners: Effective?’ explores the value of reading corners in the context of creating a culture of reading.

A new study finds that a home environment that supports language development in early childhood predicts children’s readiness to learn in pre-school, which in turn predicts academic skills at 10-11.

Research suggests that language development in infancy is influenced differently by well-educated mothers and fathers, even though they read to their young toddlers in broadly similar ways.

‘Why Some People Become Lifelong Readers’, an article from the USA, suggests that much depends on how parents present the activity of reading to their children.

Recent research shows that targeted reading interventions in small groups can help to close the disadvantage gap for primary pupils, while whole-class approaches had little impact.

‘Children’s Reading With Digital Books: Past Moving Quickly to the Future’ is a useful survey of research on the topic, with suggestions for good practice.

An Australian article explores ways to get the most out of silent reading in schools.

The latest ‘Reflecting Realities’ survey into ethnic representation in UK children’s literature has been released, and it paints a depressing picture.

Jennifer Holder of Liverpool Learning Partnership has put together a useful padlet to support educators in exploring issues of diversity and inclusion in children’s and YA books.

Mat Tobin has produced some great tips on building a diverse and multicultural bookshelf and on becoming a ‘culturally responsive teacher’.

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.

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.