We understand the importance of children reading and also being read to. Therefore, each class builds in independent reading time, allowing the children to visit our school library and make their own choices, to follow their own interests and to build their reading stamina. We provide our children with the opportunity to read with no other purpose than for reading itself. Our staff are encouraged to read children’s literature in order to advise children, make recommendations and broaden their palate as a reader.
We also ensure that all children are read to by their class teacher. This might be from a whole class novel which does not have to be related to their topic. We use this to broaden their horizons, introduce fiction and non-fiction and enable them to encounter books that they might struggle to access on their own. For many children, if they aren’t introduced to rich texts in school, they won’t ever meet them. Listening to stories supports vocabulary development and improves knowledge. It is an opportunity for a teacher to model the skills of reading and for the children to see it is an enjoyable activity.
‘Children with above expected reading skills are three times more likely to have high levels of mental wellbeing than their peers with below expected reading skills (40.3% vs 13.1%)’
National Literacy Trust
There are strong links between reading for pleasure and positive mental health and wellbeing. Higher levels of mental wellbeing and life satisfaction impact on academic achievement.
We use texts to teach children about emotional wellbeing, which has also been linked to non-cognitive skills, such as resilience, grit, self-esteem, confidence and motivation. Fiction helps to increase their empathy and social skills, and inter-personal understandings. When our children engage deeply with characters and scenarios, they get a better understanding of our shared humanity and common struggles.