You may already be aware that one of the most worrying trends we are seeing today is the decline in reading for pleasure. This is not just about literacy, the ability to read, but the slump in children becoming true readers and entering a world of wonder and discovery through books and reading.
Every piece of current research on the topic shows us that reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success, more so than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or income.
According to The National Literacy Trust the trend shows that there are just over half (52.5%) of 8-18-year-olds reading for pleasure in 2019, down from 58.8% in 2016, and only a quarter (25.7%) reading daily, compared with 43% in 2015.
However, we must not despair! Cressida Cowell, the Waterstones Children’s Laureate has been very clear that there are things we can all do to reverse this worrying trend of a decline in children reading for the joy of it. She has a charter (https://www.cressidacowell.co.uk/2019/07/16/waterstones-childrens-laureate-cressida-cowell/) setting out her mission for her laureateship, which is something all of us who work and care about this must also take as our purpose.
One of the main ways we can make sure reading is part of our children’s lives is by reading with them. Parents reading with their child for as little as 10 minutes a day can make a significant difference to the child’s achievement levels and shared reading has the single biggest impact on a child’s independent reading habits
‘Reading aloud with your child at any age is a wonderful way of connecting because you see what excites and interests them, and it’s also a way of understanding what’s going inside their head.’ Lauren Child.
Here are some other ideas from our team and friends on how to encourage reading for pleasure with your children and students:
- Read with your child at least once a day for ten minutes, even when they are beyond the age of needing to be read to.
- Be a reading role model, if they see you reading then they will feel inspired to do the same.
- Whatever they are reading- they are reading because they are interested. That is the key. Even if your child is reading car manuals, they have chosen that and are reading for pleasure! My daughter loves cooking so we often read recipe books together.
- When you are reading together encourage your child to talk about the book, the characters, how they think things might turn out, what the book makes them feel. We also try and do all the facial expressions to each other as we read.
- Take books and magazines with you so you always have something to share, e.g. on the train or in the doctor’s waiting room. It is so easy to get out your phone but try books and see how it goes.
- Go to libraries and bookshops when authors are visiting! There is nothing like meeting your hero to keep you reading.
At Scoop we work passionately to bring to as many children as possible a depth and range of voices expressed in short stories, articles, puzzles, comics and features. Over the last twenty–five issues of the magazine we have introduced children to a hundred topics created by authors and artists who are also driven by a passion for inspiring children with a love of reading.
Over the past three years we have worked hard to point readers towards subjects that will challenge and interest them such as feminism, conservation, Africa, art, and innovation. We are utterly aware, as providers of content for the next generation, that their hunger for knowledge is far reaching and sophisticated. Through incredibly diverse of points of view and styles celebrated in each issue, readers are challenged and brought into the wider world.
We also make sure that we publish a consistent range of formats. If a child is a more reluctant reader, they might start with a comic or a puzzle and then move on to a short article or interview and end up delving into the fictional stories.
While we are constantly honing our own editorial and design practices we also encourage readers to ask questions and think for themselves and take part in the magazine through the Scoop Club.
Scoop provides a place for passions to be ignited and nurtured and we continue to deliver content in formats that our readers now anticipate and love. Our mission is to bring the joy of reading to as many children as possible, to get them hooked, keep them hooked and inspire the next generation. Join us!