Despite Michael Gove’s recent questioning of reading aloud in Primary schools, there can be no doubt that reading books can have an impact on the educational attainment of children. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently stated that reading for pleasure even determines academic success, more so than social class. However, public libraries face further closures due to public spending cuts and the government do not place reading at the heart of recent educational policy. As an English teacher, I always encourage my pupils to read as much as possible and to try to encourage reading simply for pleasure alone.
It’s important to encourage a love for reading as early as possible. It will also help them with communication skills and developing an imagination. Another benefit is that it will help increase their thinking skills; reading helps develop logic and thinking in abstract terms.
These benefits to their educational success are paramount. Not only does they increase general reading and writing skills, they also help children develop a wider vocabulary, an increased general knowledge and understanding of different cultures and contexts. By being exposed to different types of genres and texts, children will absorb these different styles and grammatical conventions, and this will help improve their own creative writing. It can also help improve memory and concentration, as well as helping to escape everyday life and relieving stress and just relaxing. Reading for pleasure has also been linked to self-esteem and confidence.
Not only will all these benefits help children access the English curriculum, they will also help them access the curriculum as a whole. All GCSE examination papers have a fair amount of reading and it is important for them to be able to read and understand this independently.