My latest book, for parents of reluctant readers, is out now.
This extract explains why children should 'Read to Succeed'.
Pleasure is defined as being a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.
This is why I have a real problem with ‘reading for pleasure’ - one of the widely used phrases supposed to convince reluctant readers to engage with books.
Now, ‘reading for pleasure’ is something I do often- my wife, and even my children do it too – they all enjoy reading books. A great story can bring a smile to their face, make them cry or, sometimes, even scare them rigid. At some point it will create an emotion strong enough to encourage them to continue turning that page.
However, telling someone who doesn’t like reading that it will give them pleasure (remember: leave them happily satisfied) is like trying to
tell a nine year old boy that he will enjoy broccoli.
It just won’t happen.
You might get him to eat it by explaining how much good it will do him and persuading him of its ‘super veg’ qualities, but enjoyment? That’s
only going to happen some distance down the road.
Lots of people out there list gardening as one of their favourite hobbies. They love pottering about, deadheading flowers and cultivating plants. Not me. I don’t like gardening. If I could concrete over the garden and paint it green, I’d be a happy man.
However I do see the benefits of gardening; I like sitting in the garden on a nice day (reading a good book) or playing cricket with my sons. I appreciate that flowers can look attractive and that home-grown vegetables taste better than their shop bought equivalent. I get it, I really do.
So I garden. But I don’t enjoy it. It’s not pleasurable – it’s a chore.
So when a kid tells me they don’t like reading, I try to imagine what that must be like. I think of how I feel about gardening. And if someone told me to ‘garden for pleasure’ I’d be likely to tell them where to stick their spades and rakes.
That’s why I think ‘reading for pleasure’ is completely the wrong way to go about encouraging a child to read. Hopefully they will enjoy it eventually, but it won’t come easy and it doesn’t happen quickly.
So, I want to try a new approach I have labelled ‘read to succeed’. This acknowledges that your child may not like reading; it doesn’t promise things it can’t deliver. It is a simple acknowledgement that the more your kid reads, the greater their chance to succeed.
The skills your child will develop from reading can be linked mnemonic style to this:
S – Scheme
C – Create
E – Enquire
ATTENTION ALL TEACHERS,
Are you using your Pupil Premium money wisely?
Can you justify this to OFSTED?
Is learning a collobaration between the student, school and the parents?
My new book can help with these areas. Written in a chatty and engaging manner this book is not full of educational claptrap. It talks to parents who want to help their children engage with regular reading.
You won't find any snooty pedagogy here. Just simple things parents can do to help their kids read.
Can your school really afford not to be engaging with parents in this way?