The Importance of Reading for Pleasure - Part of the Living With Lockdown series

Published on: 
Tuesday, 5 May 2020 - 1:19pm
By: 
Jane Bunn Ronald Ross Primary School

 

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Our Living with Lockdown series looks at how teachers, schools and children are dealing with learning in lockdown. Here at CLPE we have created our Take 5 Home Learning Resources to help teachers continue Power of Reading learning while children are at home. In this blog, Jane Bunn, Literacy Lead at Power of Reading Associate School Ronald Ross Primary School, discusses the impact reading for pleasure is having on children in her school during lockdown. 

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What an unprecedented, horrible and, for many, devastating time this is. However, I cannot imagine how shocking, bewildering and frightening this period in our country’s history is if you are a child. It has had a not inconsiderable effect on the adults in our school, with some self-isolating, shielding or having issues with anxiety. But to be a child? Never has there been a better time to get lost in a story; to lose yourself in an unfamiliar world with characters that you can get to know, love or dislike.

I am the Literacy Lead at a one form entry primary school, which has disadvantaged status and a large EAL community. For the last few years, we have focussed on building a school culture based on CLPE’s Power of Reading ethos of reading for pleasure. As a result, I know our pupils will be able to access some relief from the reported horrors that are evolving daily. We have opened our school library doors to the children that are not accessing the provision we provide to our most vulnerable or those children of key workers. We have taken the view that all children should have the chance to lose themselves in a story and so new novels have been ordered to cater for the demand. Our children clearly love to read and that is a skill all the staff at Ronald Ross have worked hard to foster through Power of Reading.

Reading for pleasure is a respite from what, for a few of our pupils, is a challenging home life. Like many schools up and down the country, we have provided online resources and a ‘How To’ channel, on You Tube, so that our parents can see how we would teach Literacy and Phonics. We also have provided an opportunity for any child to suggest any vocabulary to be used in a story; with a new story written weekly.

Examples of work from Year 5 students using the Take 5 notes for Street Child by Berlie Doherty.

CLPE have provided really engaging home learning resources through their Take 5 materials, whereby children can analyse and discuss a story extract. They allow each of our pupils the chance to successfully comprehend, discuss, visualise and create. The instructions are clear and the questions are insightful and thought provoking. I have used these with my class, four of whom I teach daily in school. Like many colleagues, these children have made such good progress over the year that I cannot bear the thought of them not continuing to push themselves to achieve at home. The Take 5 materials have really made an impact on how they are able to text mark, discuss and visualise as well as to introduce them to different genres of story.

 Examples of work from Year 1 students using Zerraffa Giraffa by Dianne Hofmeyr and Jane Ray.

I believe that in order to become a lifelong reader, a child must have the power to like and dislike a book. CLPE values all reader responses and views too and that’s why open discussions are so important. If you can articulate what a story means to you, then you are engaged with it and that, to my mind, is the most important thing to achieve. 

 

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The Take 5 teaching notes discussed in this blog are available as part of our Power of Reading whole school membership.

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