In a study done in the UK, it was found that students who read more and read for pleasure achieved higher test scores in spelling, vocabulary and surprisingly, mathematics. Exposure to literary fiction also improves empathy and reduces stress by up to 68%.
There’s no doubt that the benefits of reading for pleasure are plenty.
But despite all the research-backed advantages, a 2022 report showed that only 25% of children read for pleasure daily. Key factors to why it was low were:
Not being read aloud to often enough at home or in school
A lack of agency for students when choosing reading material
Competition from digital entertainment
Inadequate choosing strategies
A lack of recognition that book choosing is a skill that needs to be taught
Limited access to reading materials
Overt focus on reading as a skill rather than for pleasure
As educators, it can be hard to find new ways to keep them engaged and interested in reading throughout the year. So here are our top eight tips on how you can develop a strong culture of reading for pleasure in your classroom.
When students are able to choose the books they want to read, it makes them more motivated to read as they feel in control of their reading choices.
They are also more likely to enjoy a book that they have chosen for themselves. A research found that when students were asked to identify the book they enjoyed reading the most, 80% chose a book that they had selected for themselves.
To encourage students to read widely, give them access to a wide variety of different texts. When students see themselves and others in books, they also learn about inclusion and representation.
There are over 3,500 non-fiction and fiction titles to choose from in the Reading Eggs ever-expanding digital Library. Get access to ALL the books in the Library today with a Reading Eggs school subscription.
Reading Eggs is a comprehensive, well-integrated program which I have found to be of great help in developing children's skills and interest in reading. Even the senior students wanted to have a go! – Lynne Brehaut, Nungurner Primary
To help students self-select texts effectively, give them strategies on how they can pick the right text.
For example, show them how to examine the inside of the book, and look at the book covers to determine if it is at an appropriate level. Provide opportunities for them to practice and learn.
When it comes to reading for pleasure, studies show that students are motivated to read by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
A book summary chart is a great way to show students their reading achievements. This builds self-efficacy in their ability to see themselves as a successful reader, and more likely to engage in tasks when they feel confident.
You can also use extrinsic motivators (rewards and gifts) to strengthen intrinsic motivation.
Consistent time spent reading in classrooms accelerates their growth in reading skills. Promote everyday reading in class by giving students time to read independently.
When your students have read for a period of consecutive days, praise and acknowledge their efforts so they feel motivated to keep it a daily habit.
Informal, learner-led book discussion helps foster the habit of reading for pleasure. One way to do this is through ‘book talks’ in class. You can also get your students to write their thoughts and feelings about books they’ve read in a reading journal.
These strategies develop your students’ confidence to offer ideas and help them communicate effectively about a book, deepening their own understanding.
The Reading Journal in Reading Eggs is not just an interactive record showing all the books students have read in the Library, it’s a real celebration of their reading journey.
To support a strong reading habit, reading must continue from school to home.
Encourage parents to find a reading routine at home. Even just 10 minutes of quality reading time each day can make a big difference. Share with them practical ideas for reading strategies to use at home, and suggest before, during, and after reading activities they can do with their child.
A reading journal can also help parents see the positive links between home and school reading.
Besides giving daily opportunities for students to read, they also need to be read to.
Reading aloud daily to your student increases their interest in reading. And it doesn’t have to be done only during reading time.
You can read aloud at the start of the day, end of the day, during a writing lesson or when learning a new topic.
See why over 16,000 primary schools trust Reading Eggs to help their students learn how to read and read for pleasure.
After using Reading Eggs in my class, students are enjoying reading more. They are able to select books that suit their learning ability and are motivated by rewards given after completing levels and quizzes. I regularly use the teacher resource section for whole class activities and to plan lessons based on my students' needs.” – Stephanie Wilson, O'Sullivan Beach Primary School