In a time when mobile phones, iPads and mobile data heavily influence our lives, the joy of losing yourself in a book can sometimes be overlooked. However, seeing students carrying their books last week and dropping everything to read, reminds us that in our busy lives, we should make time to read for pleasure. When we read for pleasure it allows us to experience different worlds in our imagination and stimulates creative and active/ interactive process.
Aside from the sheer joy of exercising the imagination, research shows reading for pleasure improves literacy, social skills, health and learning outcomes. It gives people access to culture and heritage and empowers them to become active citizens, who can contribute to economic and social development. Our students entering the adult world in the 21st century will need to read and write more than at any other time in human history. They will need advanced levels of literacy to perform their jobs, run their households, act as citizens, and conduct their personal lives. They will need literacy to cope with the flood of information they will find everywhere they turn. They will need literacy to feed their imaginations, so they can create the world of the future.
When children read for pleasure, when they get “hooked on books”, they acquire, involuntarily and without conscious effort, nearly all of the so-called “language skills” many people are so concerned about: they will become adequate readers, acquire a large vocabulary, develop the ability to understand and use complex grammatical constructions, develop a good writing style, and become good (but not necessarily perfect) spellers.
It’s important to acknowledge the importance of the pleasure and imaginative aspects of reading. Through reading children are free to choose the worlds they visit, the characters they meet, the points of view they encounter and the visions they create. The power of reading and sharing books with children cannot be underestimated.
“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all” (Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis).
Head of Primary