Teachers’ knowledge of children’s literature: the cornerstone of reading for pleasure

Cremin, Teresa (2019). Teachers’ knowledge of children’s literature: the cornerstone of reading for pleasure. Scottish Book Trust.

URL: https://www.readingchallenge.scot/blog/2019-03/tea...

Abstract

Young people who choose to read in their own time benefit markedly from their engagement as readers. Research demonstrates that reading for pleasure contributes to increased attainment in literacy and numeracy (1), enriched narrative writing (2) and a wider vocabulary and knowledge of the world. In the recent PIRLS study, the ten year olds in England, in line with others internationally, who reported liking reading the most, scored an average of 45 points more than those who reported not liking reading (3). Indeed as Sue Ellis recently argued on this site, the positive effects of volitional reading on attainment apply regardless of socio-economic context (4).

Yet unless teachers have a rich and wide knowledge of children’s literature and other texts, and a working knowledge of the young as readers, I would argue they are not well positioned to nurture reading for pleasure or to enable the will to influence the skill. Young people need role models who voice their passion and pleasure in reading and teachers who can tailor their text recommendations to different individual’s interests and needs. Such focused support not only increases the chance of young readers finding books that will satisfy them, but also leads to significant book blether.

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