Reading for pleasure has a dramatic impact on children’s life outcomes… | Portsmouth High School

Reading for pleasure has a dramatic impact on children’s life outcomes…

In assembly on Monday I talked about books. There are so many in my house how that I have had to invest in an e-reader to avoid yet more rooms overflowing with them.

Reading without a backlit screen is one of those simple pleasures that stimulate our brain without putting undue pressure on the eyes. It can also be done just before sleep without affecting sleep patterns which can often be the case with phones, tablets and computers. I explained to the girls that I now have a curfew in the evening where I try not to look at a close-up screen and that this has improved my ability to sleep.

CEO of the Book Trust, Diana Gerald, suggests that reading as an activity is under pressure like never before. We are all finding it harder to read and it competes against so many other activities that call on time for ourselves and our children. We actively encourage girls to read for pleasure throughout the school and I still sometimes read to my daughter at bedtime, although not as often as I would like to. It is one of her favourite times of the day.

Gerald goes on to say that reading for pleasure has a dramatic impact on children’s life outcomes. Confidence and wellbeing is enhanced as well as academic outcomes. They are happier, healthier and do better in life as a result. This is a bold claim but my twenty years as a teacher has led me to believe that it is true.

I concluded my assembly with the story of Mary Jones, who two hundred years ago walked twenty-six miles in her bare feet to buy a copy of the Bible. She carried her shoes in her hands so that they didn’t get dirty and put them on before she met the minister. This was after having saved for six years to raise enough money to buy the book. We are so fortunate to have such wide access to fiction and non-fiction and I hope I managed to get this across to the girls on Monday morning.