World Book Day reflections and reading for pleasure in lockdown

Teenagers reading for pleasure

World Book Day reflections and reading for pleasure in lockdown

These photos were taken before lockdown, when Book Club Leaders went to a local bookshop to each choose a book for themselves and the school library, thanks to a grant from the Siobhan Dowd Trust. We think they sum up reading for pleasure beautifully!

Back to today and this World Book Day most children and young people are not yet back in school. However, the celebrations are still in full swing. We were delighted to see the research published by World Book Day from a number of literacy organisations The Reading Agency, BookTrust, CLPE, National Literacy Trust, Nielsen, and Egmont which shines a light on children’s reading habits throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This research indicates that many children embraced reading at the start of the pandemic. Books have provided a valuable resource to support children’s wellbeing. Young people reported that it helped them relax (40%) and made them feel happy (35%).  A year on from the start of the pandemic, reading has decreased slightly. Access to books remains a major issue, particularly amongst disadvantaged children and families. 

This research underpins the Book Clubs in Schools programme. We work with secondary schools and the top years of primary schools, helping students with the transition to secondary schools. While there are so many wonderful initiatives to instil reading for pleasure habits in preschool and primary school children, we seek to address the persistent dip in reading for pleasure that happens once children move into secondary school. Research shows that there is a large gap in achievement between secondary school students who read books for pleasure and those who do not. 

Throughout lockdown, we’ve continued to run book clubs online with our existing and new schools. All our resources for schools are now online and we provide virtual support and advice. This means we can run the programme in any school across the UK. Nearly 150 schools have signed up for our free Mini Book Club, which can be run with students in and out of school. A wellbeing break in the week, the book clubs offer fun questions and activities. We teamed up with HarperCollins and Egmont to offer Penny Joelson’s award-winning I Have No Secrets as a 99p e-book. We are hosting the live Q&A on 24 March with Speakers for Schools.

Launched this year, our Secondary Book Chat gives teachers and school librarians a forum to discuss books and make recommendations, an important part of developing a reading for pleasure culture in schools. It’s on the second Wednesday of every month over on Twitter from 8pm to 9pm (UK time). Search under the hashtag #SecondaryBookChat. On 10 March we are discussing Emily Knight I Am…Becoming and we’ll be joined by the author A. Bello herself.   

We’ve run Instagram Lives with top authors including Tom Palmer and Lisa Thompson, watch them here, offered free Instagram book clubs, and partnered with Hachette to offer 99p e-books by Alex Wheatle and Patrice Lawrence. 

We’d love to hear your thoughts about how to encourage older children to read for pleasure. Happy World Book Day, and happy reading!

Read the full article about the research on The Reading Agency’s website

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