What’s the time Mr Wolf?
By Margaret Allen, Strategic Education Manager
It’s time for ‘reading for pleasure’! Or is it?
In a recent survey by Oxford University Press (OUP), more than half of UK primary school teachers said that they do not have enough time to read and discuss books in the classroom, yet 92 percent believe that reading for pleasure is essential to pupils’ success in later life. This point is echoed in a recently published study by the National Literacy Trust, which emphasised the ‘bi-directional influence’ of reading for enjoyment on reading achievement, and particularly the role of Accelerated Reader in encouraging both.
As primary teachers, from the moment we arrive at school in the morning until the bell strikes to signal home time – the day is generally tightly timetabled to ensure we’re delivering against learning expectations. And while reading is a major part of this; the reality is that we just don’t have enough time to do everything that we want to when it comes to children’s reading development.
So how do we resolve this apparent conflict? Well, based on my own experience in the classroom – there’s no simple answer. Instead, I’ve seen a number of different approaches adopted by schools, the common aim being to develop a reading culture which helps to encourage reading for pleasure, even when ‘extra’ time is not available in the timetable.
Here are my top three favourites:
- Using reward and recognition – promote reading for pleasure by instilling a sense of pride.
- How to make reading ‘cool’ – encourage a positive attitude to reading which leads to motivation to read outside of class.
- Quizzing as a group exercise – get more out of the time you have available for guided reading with group discussion.
These are just a few ideas to help you in encouraging that all important reading for pleasure culture – without having to invest lots more time (which let’s face it, we just don’t have). I’d love to hear about any ways your school is winning against the time challenge when it comes to your children’s reading development. Feel free to contact me at Margaret.Allen@renlearn.co.uk or follow me on Twitter: @MargaretCAllen
So before I close off, I’ll ask again… what’s the time Mr Wolf? Hopefully it’s time to try something new!
Strategic Education Manager
Margaret Allen is Strategic Education Manager for Primary schools at Renaissance Learning. She uses practical experience from her time teaching in primary classrooms to help teachers across the UK to get the most out of Accelerated Reader.