Reading for pleasure is a gift that will last a lifetime
Literacy is, of course, an essential life skill; it unlocks the door to learning and discovery and has been proven to build brain function, increase vocabulary and improve concentration and creativity. But the benefits of reading go beyond basic comprehension.
Research by The Reading Agency, National Literacy Trust and others has shown that reading for pleasure promotes mental wellbeing by helping children to relax, reducing anxiety and stress. It can help children develop empathy by experiencing the world through someone else’s eyes. They will begin to understand themselves better, too, as they explore different emotions, identities and experiences.
The key to encouraging reading for pleasure is to allow children to read what they want. According to the UK Literacy Agency, “If children want to pick up a book, comic or magazine, choose their own reading material and enjoy reading, they are far more likely to continue reading, become effective readers and gain from the countless ensuing benefits.”
3 ways to help children enjoy reading
- Find out what they’re interested in and help them to find reading material that connects to their passions. The Week Junior’s Summer of Reading list of 50 books is a good place to start (plus there is a fun competition to help motivate them!) and there are plenty more useful resources online, including Book Trust’s Book Finder.
- Start conversations about books. Encourage children to talk about what they’ve read and describe what they did and didn’t like about it.
- Suggest they find out more about their favourite authors. Many authors have their own websites and YouTube channels.