Strategies to encourage independent reading

4th July 2014

​As discussed in previous posts, recent evidence suggests that there is a positive relationship between reading frequency, reading enjoyment and attainment. So how can we encourage independent reading for pleasure? 

What works in promoting reading for pleasure? 

  • Having access to resources and having books of their own has an impact on children’s attainment. There is a positive relationship between the estimated number of books in the home and attainment (Clark 2011). Children who have books of their own enjoy reading more and read more frequently (Clark and Poulton 2011).
  • An important factor in developing reading for pleasure is choice; choice and interest are highly related (Schraw et al, 1998; Clark and Phythian- Sence, 2008)

  • Literacy-targeted rewards, such as books or book vouchers have been found to be more effective in developing reading motivation than rewards that are unrelated to the activity (Clark and Rumbold, 2006).

  • Parents and the home environment are essential to the early teaching of reading and fostering a love of reading; children are more likely to continue to be readers in homes where books and reading are valued (Clark and Rumbold, 2006).

  • Reading for pleasure is strongly influenced by relationships between teachers and children, and children and families (Cremin et al, 2009). 

 

Role of parents/carers and the home environment

Evidence suggests that parents and the home environment are essential to the early teaching of reading and fostering a love of reading. Key findings from the evidence include:

  • Parental involvement in a child’s literacy has been reported as a more powerful force than other family background variables, such as social class, family size and level of parental education (Flouri and Buchanan, 2004 – cited in Clark and Rumbold, 2006);

  • Children whose home experiences promote the view that reading is a source of entertainment are likely to become intrinsically motivated to read (Baker, Serpell and Sonnenschein, 1995 – cited in Clark and Rumbold, 2006); and,

  • Children are more likely to continue to be readers in homes where books and reading are valued (Baker and Scher, 2002 – cited in Clark and Rumbold, 2006).

    Findings from PISA support this. OECD (2010) report that parents’ engagement with their children’s reading life has a positive impact on their children’s reading 


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