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Why Reading for Pleasure Matters

"It's great if you can read but the question is: do you read? If you do the world is yours. This is what Readathon is all about."

Michael Rosen, former Children's Laureate

Boy reading for pleasureExtensive research proves that children who read for pleasure will gain advantages that last their whole lives. 

Reading for pleasure is more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status, says the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Reading for Change, Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

The National Literacy Trust cites overwhelming evidence that literacy has a significant relationship with a person’s happiness and success. A deep engagement with storytelling and great literature link directly to emotional development in primary children, according to The Rose Review, 2008 Independent Review of the Primary School Curriculum.

There is a strong association between the amount of reading for pleasure children reported and their reading achievement, reports the Progress in International Reading and Literacy Study (PIRLS) (National Foundation for Educational Research, 2006, Twist et al. National Report for England)

But the academic benefits of a strong leisure reading habit are not confined to improved reading ability. Leisure reading makes students more articulate, develops higher order reasoning, and promotes critical thinking, says the National Endowment for the Arts in "To read or not to read", 2007.

The PIRLS study also indicates that children in England tend to report reading for pleasure less frequently than their peers in many other countries. Running a Readathon in your school will help redress that balance and bring your pupils the better chances in life that they deserve. 

Secondary school boy enjoying a good bookReadathon's Own Research

Our own research among educational professionals has also yielded compelling data.

Over 90% of respondents welcome anything that will help them motivate pupils to decide to read. It’s not just about employment prospects and exam success. 

Over 96% believe ‘reading what they want’ helps children develop. Neither the content nor its format is considered as important as it once was. Many teachers welcome anything to encourage reading, including comics (90%), DVDs (55%) and even mobile phones (32%).

With reading via the internet (72%) now more likely to be listed than newspapers (70%), teachers recognise the positive attributes of digital media. Almost two thirds of respondents approved of digital reading devices and 72% are expecting digital books to become more important in the future.

Over 54% of teachers felt that there is little time for pupils to read for pleasure during school hours, although only 12% cited lack of support from within the school itself to encourage the activity.

For more information

To read in full the National Literary Trust’s 2008 report on the importance of reading for pleasure, please click here.  For other additional information, please contact us.