I've blogged about the importance of reading for pleasure before.
Please don't stop reading this if you saw that post - there's lots of new and different stuff in this one! I promise.
It's just that it really IS so important I thought it worth writing about again, especially as I'm visiting schools this week with the specific subject in mind - more later.
Research from around the world demonstrates how much more those children who read FOR PLEASURE achieve in their studies and in later life.
It would seem it doesn't matter what socio-economic background you come from. Children from lower income families who read for pleasure do better than children from more affluent families, but who don't read outside of studying. (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study).
Interestingly, the study also found that children had a higher reading achievement IF THEIR PARENTS REPORTED THEY LIKED READING!
(I know this means parents who enjoy reading their own choice of books in their own spare time - not just reading to their children. Didn't have a picture of that!)
However, what struck me as rather sad was a discovery by Egmont, the UK's leading specialist children's publisher. They found that, whereas 95% of pre-school children are read to by their parents/grandparents etc, once the children start school this plummets to 33%. The emphasis then is on reading as a skill and getting the child to read to the adult, focussing on decoding words. This is, of course, extremely important, but the pure pleasure of reading and immersing oneself in a story seems to be forgotten at this point.
We all know how time-poor parents and carers are nowadays and schools are more and more target driven. Reading becomes a skill to 'fit in'.
This is where Booktrust steps in.
They are a charity which supports reading for pleasure for all ages.
Their various schemes can be found on line at
As they state : 'Read with your child every day'.
They have carried out research which shows that a child who reads for pleasure is more likely to grow into an adult who remains in employment, is IT literate and owns their own home amongst other things.
This year they launched a new scheme - the Children's Reading Fund - which supports children in care and those with additional needs, to make sure they all have the opportunity to have books to read.
Aimed at 4-11 year olds, there are some great stories about how these children's lives can be turned around on
This week I have been asked in to schools in Bewdley as part of Bewdley Festival's Book Week. The theme is 'Reading for Fun'. Hooray!
I'm off to, hopefully, instil a love of all things books in several classes of 4 year olds.
As you can probably tell from the above photo, I was back at BBC Hereford & Worcester today, chatting about the Book Week and the importance of being a pleasure reader with Tammy Gooding. (Sorry about the scary eyes - it was hot and I was bothered. That's what being interviewed live on air does to a person!)
Hopefully lots of people will discover new books and new authors at Bewdley's Book Week. It's in its third year and getting bigger and bigger. They've got a 'book swap', so a brilliant opportunity to get hold of a fresh good read and go away to enjoy the story.
For more details visit www.bewdleybookweek.co.uk
I hope you take something away from this post -
whether it's the germ of an idea to go along to your local Book Week or Literature Festival when it takes place and meet others who love the crazy world of books, the determination to read more with your child (whatever their age), the decision to donate to Booktrust's fantastic work or simply the thought of finding a little slice of your time to read for the pure pleasure of it.
With so many reasons to be a pleasure reader, for yourself and for your children, why on earth not give it a go if you don't already?