Excessive analysis of books puts kids off reading?

Below is a stack of books, all of which I read for the sheer fun and pleasure of doing so. It was great!

I have blogged before about my reasons why reading for pleasure (for all ages, but especially children) is so important. What has prompted me to do so yet again?

An interesting article about Frank Cottrell Boyce, who gave this year's David Fickling lecture. He argues that some teaching methods promoting literacy are actually polluting the reading experience and believes that children are too often asked to analyse the text of a book, or respond to a story with their own story, thus taking away the joy of simply reading for the love of it and leaving it at that.

You can read more about his thoughts here.

It drew an enlightening response from a teacher, explaining why so much in depth work on books is required as part of the job nowadays, and the frustrations that can bring.

Find out what they said here.

Putting myself in the position of one of the children in their class, that format for reading sounds horrific and no pleasure at all.

I know I didn't enjoy 'whole class reading' at school and, in my case, that happened at secondary school where we had to work through and analyse heavy tomes for our exams.

Fortunately I had good experiences at primary level, where quiet time was put aside each day for personal reading - whatever we wanted...and that included comics! I also had parents who were interested in books, a mother who read most days for pleasure and shelves full of books. I read lots at home.

For those of you who didn't spot my earlier blogs about why I think reading for pleasure is so important.....why do I?!




1. Research from around the world demonstrates how children who read for pleasure, no strings attached, achieve so much more in their studies AND later life.

It doesn't seem to matter what socio-economic background you come from. Children from lower income families who read for pleasure do better than those from more affluent families, but who don't read outside of studying. (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study).


2. Egmont (the UK's leading specialist children's publisher) found that, whereas 95% of pre-school children were read to by parents/grandparents, once the children started school this plummeted to 33%. The emphasis suddenly swings to reading as a skill. This is, of course, extremely important, but the pure pleasure of reading and immersing oneself in a story seems to be forgotten for the most part.


3. Booktrust - the charity which supports reading for pleasure for all ages - states, '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, owns their own home AND trusts people in their community.

Find out more about them here.


How more important can reading for pleasure be?



I hope you take something from this post and, if not already an avid reader, you have perhaps been prompted to go out and try it. Maybe try out a local literary festival to get some ideas, or find your local book group, read more with your child, or simply find a little slice of your time to read for the pure pleasure of it. There are so many reasons to do so.

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