Promotion of Reading for Pleasure

Evidence suggests that reading for pleasure leads to increased attainment as there is a significant positive relationship between enjoyment and attainment. A large-scale survey of over 18,000 young people found that those who reported enjoying reading were six times more likely (than those who did not enjoy reading) to read above the expected level for their age. Therefore, we are committed at St Mary’s to promote reading for pleasure amongst our young people and to foster a love of reading, both in school and at home. We strive to encourage students to have a positive perception of reading and to create a culture where reading is habitual. We encourage students to have choice in what they read, as selecting their own reading material is key to developing positive reading behaviours. Additionally, we ensure that all students have access to books which they can take home, via the school library and through other incentives such as Bookbuzz. Please see below for more information on how the school promotes reading for pleasure:


Bookbuzz is a reading programme provided by Book Trust, it provides the opportunity for students in Year 7 to choose their own book to keep, from a list of 17 titles. All novels are carefully selected to encourage reading for pleasure. The schools fully funds this programme for students.


“we were given a choice of a number of books to choose, this helped me to enjoy reading” – EW Year 8

World Book Day

At St Mary’s we participate each year in World Book Day, in order to promote reading for pleasure. Each child, as part of this initiative, receives a £1 book token which enables them to choose and own a book for free or receive £1 off a full-priced book of their choice. Additionally, we have also ran other events on this day including: virtual author talks and workshops; booknics (book picnics); book doctors prescribing books and other activities.


Organised by the charity Read for Good, students are encouraged to participate in a ‘readathon’. This is a brilliant way to get students reading what they love – from comic books to classics, and audio books to recipes, it’s all about encouraging students to choose whatever they enjoy reading the most! Students are sponsored by family and friends to read at home and this helps to create a positive culture surrounding reading and creates conversations about reading within the home.

10 Tips to Promote Reading with Your Child at Home


1. Make connections between reading and life success

Make explicit connections between reading and future opportunities in life. If your child is thinking about college or a certain career path, have open, honest discussions about the ways reading might be necessary for success. 16-year-olds who choose to read books for pleasure outside of school are more likely to secure managerial or professional jobs in later life.

2. Embed 20 minutes of daily reading into your child’s routine

Children who read for at least 20 minutes a day are exposed to almost 2 million words per year. In contrast, those who read at home for five minutes a day will hear only 282,000 words per year. However, that’s not all.  Children who engage in reading 20 minutes a day, statistics show, are likely to score better than 90% of their peers on standardised tests and be more successful academically.

3. Read to your child

Research by the American Academy of Paediatrics examined the link between brain activity in young children and home reading exposure. They found a strong association between children being read to and activation in areas involved in language development. Reading to your child can be a great opportunity to model fluency and increase word-sound recognition.

4. Ruler Reading

When ruler reading learners track the text with their ruler (whilst being read

  1. to) they see the words at the same time as hearing them. This will build their sight recognition of words and increase automaticity. It is a build on finger following that our young children do when we read to them. Ruler reading is powerful as it reduces learner time spent fixating on one or two challenging words and therefore allows the brain to focus on meaning of the text. 

5. Model reading

The best way to create a culture of reading in your home is to read as much as possible. The more children see reading, the more likely they are to follow suit. Build in time in the day where you both sit and read together.

6. Discuss what your child reads

Talk in meaningful ways about what your child reads. Ask questions and encourage debate. Create an environment of deep discussion and critical thinking. Talking frequently about reading can aid a child’s comprehension and understanding of texts. Below are some suggestions of questions you might ask:

“can you summarise what has just happened on that page?”

“What does the word …. Suggest in that line?”

“Look closer at the phrase …… what does this suggest about ….”

“Why has the word.… been used to describe ….?”

“How do you think the character felt when ….? Why would they feel this way?”

 “How would you have felt if ….?”

“What impact did the decision to …. have on ….?”

 “Why has the setting of …. been chosen?” 

“What was interesting about …?”

7. Promote Vocabulary Growth: Talk about words

When a child has read a couple of paragraphs, ask them to identify which words were new to them. Discuss the meaning of these words and encourage them to get into the habit of looking up new words in a dictionary. Vocabulary growth is fundamental in supporting reading. It is suggested that students need a vocabulary bank of around 50,000 words to flourish in their GCSE exams.

8. Let your child choose

The best way to encourage children to read is to allow them to read what they find engaging, whether it’s comic books, cookbooks, or romance novels. The books they’re drawn to might not be your favourites, but don’t discourage those preferences (if they are age appropriate). Engagement with reading is key to promoting reading for pleasure. By high school, many struggling readers may lose the motivation to work on reading skills. However, you can encourage them to stay engaged by looking for ways to connect reading to subjects that are relevant to them. For example, if your child is a reluctant reader who wants to work with animals, make it clear how important reading will be to learn more about veterinary science. Start by reading small extracts including animals and then eventually move onto a full novel.

9. Find a compelling series

Readers who get hooked on the first book in a series can follow the same characters or themes through many more books. The familiarity of a series makes it easier to understand the text and can reduce the negative feelings associated with starting a new book. Find the right characters or themes, and even reluctant readers will be eager to pick up the next book in the series.

10. Leverage interest in current events.

Highlight the ways that your child can use reading to keep up-to-date on what’s happening in the world. Encourage your child to pick up a newspaper or subscribe to a magazine. This will spark meaningful discussions about the world around them, whilst reading non-fiction text types.


Websites / Research