Reasons to read

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By Huw Thomasheadteacher and writer

Follow this mini manifesto to help promote positive reading experiences in your school

Reasons to read? The list is endless

Back in the 80s, a document called Extending Beginning Reading (Extending Beginning Reading by V Southgate, H Arnold and S Johnson, 1981, Heinemann Educational Books for the Schools Council) explored children’s reading experiences. Researchers asked children why they were learning to read. Probably the most heartbreaking response came from a child who responded: ‘So I can stop’.

If we’re not careful, we will end up with children reaching Key Stage 2 possessing all the skills to read, but no desire to – all revved up and no where to go. The National Year of Reading offers a genuine opportunity for those of us who work with young children to promote reading. So what should we do? My mini-manifesto includes eight simple suggestions.

1 Lead by example

Every teacher should have a children’s novel on the go. If I had my way I would make it an occupational requirement. A teacher’s enthusiasm for literature becomes infectious. If you want a starting point, get your hands on a copy of The Thing with Finn by Tom Kelly. Read the opening chapters and you’ll be gripped – laughing and wanting to reach the breathtaking twist at the end of the tale.

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