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Balancing Reading for Skill and Reading for Pleasure

Find the balance between reading for pleasure and reading for skill is important and thats why finding an effective reading strategy is crucial. Isn’t reading a way to explore another adventure away from your own? That’s often what we talk about in education. But then again, there are so many children who don’t enjoy reading, and don’t see it in this way. They see reading as a chore or a task they’re not interested in doing. However, reading can be fun if the right novels are presented to children aligned with their interests.

That’s why it’s important to view reading in a positive light to children at school and pay close attention to how your students feel when they’re choosing a book to read. To gain more interest in reading, we need to consider students’ feelings and how reading is presented in school.

Perhaps some of your students are against reading because there is an imbalance between reading for skill and reading for pleasure?

To help, we’ve listed out three remarks you may have heard your students say about reading and how you can understand more about what’s missing from your students’ reading instruction.

“Reading is so boring!”

Perhaps this student hasn’t found a topic or genre they really like yet. In this instance, you could give your classroom a few more books that interest your students. You may want to help them in selecting books that interest them too.

“I hate reading!”

Here, a positive experience may not have been had with reading. Maybe the circumstances surrounding this person’s current reading experience need to be reviewed. Do they just read when they have exams? Or haven’t they ever read for pleasure?

“Reading is hard!”

This person may find reading difficult and need some help in reading confidently. Consider reading strategies, phonics practice, and phonemic awareness skills that might help support this reader, so it doesn’t feel so hard.

If you consider these remarks and responses, the imbalance may be starting to show itself. Now let’s take a look at reading for skill and reading for pleasure.

Reading for Skill

As teachers all have set criteria to follow, it probably makes sense that you’ve taught your students to read for skill. For younger learners, this will involve developing phonemic awareness, and then when they’re older, the focus may be on fluency or tackling vocabulary. We take our students through the stages of being able to read and hope that the love of reading organically occurs. For some, this happens but for others, they don’t grow up to enjoy reading.

We move students forward toward reading proficiency as literacy points to this approach.

Reading for Pleasure

Not all reading for pleasure needs to happen outside of school though! By demonstrating and showing that reading for pleasure can happen in the classroom, this can create positive experiences of reading that students take with them into their future.

So how do we encourage reading for pleasure during instruction time? Well you could read to your students for 15-20 minutes a week, or you could ask your students to have some time to read independently at the beginning of the day. Another way could be to look into books your class will enjoy and add more literature into the classroom library. All of this effort will mean students are more engaged in what they’re reading and you can connect with them about what they’re reading too.

One thing to note though is that you’re achieving the right balance of reading for skill versus pleasure. Connect with students and talk with them so you’re both building a love of reading together and establishing life-long readers. We have put together a Summer reading list for 2021, check it out now.

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