Posted in Reading

Reading for Pleasure – Part 1

So what do we mean when we say “reading for pleasure”?

Some would ask “is there any other kind of reading?”

For these people, any text is an invitation to read. The back of a cereal packet whilst waiting for the kettle to boil; the abandoned shopping list left behind in the trolley at Morrison’s; the sign on the car park at the docks that tells you “This car park closes at 8 pm. The barrier will be locked until….”. I’ve read that sign about a thousand times; I clearly don’t need to read it every time I park there and I’ve even tried forcing myself not to but I just can’t. If words present themselves in front of me, I just have to read them – interesting or not. I read every word on every sign that I pass on the motorway. In fact, it annoys me if a truck gets in the way as I pass the sign. 😂

Now I realise this doesn’t sound much like “pleasure” and I’m possibly starting to sound a little odd at this point 🤣 but bear with me because it’s an oddness that I’d encourage absolutely everyone to embrace if they can. Reading these mundane notes, signs etc is pretty involuntary to me. Reading is my ‘me time’. I like to ‘read for pleasure’ in any spare moment so it’s no surprise that it’s leaked into my ‘not-so-spare’ moments too.

When we send a reading scheme book home with your child, we like them to show willing and read a few pages at home. We’d like them to read with you if possible (we’re aware of course that this can be tricky – even teachers skip this some nights with their own children!). There is purpose behind the reading schemes of course; they are banded and the vocabulary and phrasing are chosen very carefully to show improvement in your child’s reading skills over time. Reading schemes will always be an essential part of reading in school.

However, these books are not ‘reading for pleasure’ items. They’re not a substitute for your child finding a book at the library that they are just dying to read. They’re not the book that has been hyped by their classmates and has a waiting list to borrow. They’re not the start of a lifetime love of reading. For this, we need to look elsewhere…

Some of your children may have mentioned our school Reading Club/Book Chat. We’ve been running these for the last term on Thursday and Friday afternoons and I can honestly say that it’s by far the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in any school. I now have like-minded little people who will happily indulge my love of book chat for an afternoon and who have created the absolutely perfect atmosphere to do so. They’re so enthusiastic about the group and this is rubbing off on their classmates. They just can’t stop reading and I have absolutely no wish to slow them down at all. Reading like this gives them the opportunity to use their imagination, to explore new ideas, to visit new places and to meet new characters. It improves their well-being and empathy. It helps them to understand their own identity, and gives them an insight into the world and the views of others. It’s also just plain, good fun – for them and me! For this reason, we’ll be doing all we can to give children opportunities to read for pleasure – including enrollment at the local library.

Of course, not everyone is so in love with books and reading – I’m going to chat more about that in part 2 – but if you’re a reader who would like to give us a recommendation, know more about ‘reading for pleasure’, or even join us on one of our book chats, please leave a comment because we’d love to chat – especially if you bring a book! 😊

Mrs France – RAMJS Reading Team

Posted in Reading

Book Chat

I do like a good book chat and don’t think I’ll ever tire of those “Have you read…..?” conversations. Luckily, plenty of my colleagues are willing to indulge me in this and there’s always someone ready with a recommendation.

For me, the next best thing to selecting a book for myself is choosing one for someone else and I particularly love to browse new children’s titles. Imagine my glee when Mrs Nickson asked me to choose some new books for a Year 5 book club. We have some very accomplished and enthusiastic readers in year 5 so this task was an absolute joy.

My little book club happens most Friday afternoons and it really is a lovely end to the week. We’ve had some great discussions and the children have surprised themselves with how their book and author knowledge has developed. I think they’re all a little more open minded with their choices as a result of our book chats.

Here’s what Sophie and Rajwant have to say about the experience.

It was October 2020 when we first started Book Chat Group. We got our first look at the books and stated our opinions (from the cover and blurb). In the first session, we explore the books and scored them 0-5. During our chats, we sometimes ended up chatting about other authors and books. In one of these sessions, Mohammed asked what a trapeze artist was (the book was about the circus). We ended up watching a video which explained what a trapeze was so that was good too.

We always like talking about the different types of books. With Mrs France, we talk about what has happened in our books and what our favourite book settings have been. Then we end up chatting about the places that we have been too.”

What have you been reading lately? Leave a comment for any recommendations for our library. 🙂 Mrs France