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Judgement and expectations are putting children off reading

World Book Day’s latest research has shown that many children feel judged and embarrassed about reading.


The survey results showed that 1 in 5 kids feel judged for what they read, while a quarter are made to read things they don’t want to.

We were saddened to see these findings and some of the comments from children about their feelings around reading for pleasure. We agree wholeheartedly with World Book Day’s views that adults need to let go of expectations and judgements around reading and give children the chance to grow up as enthusiastic readers. If children feel shamed at an early age about their reading choices, they will miss out on the many personal and educational benefits that reading for pleasure brings.

Reading for pleasure is hugely positive for children's mental wellbeing and emotional development, it helps to develop crucial literacy skills and research shows that it is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success (more so than socio-economic status).

We know that motivation to read is greater when children have opportunities to make their own choices.  Every child, no matter their background or location, should have access to a range of books and the freedom to discover what they like, without fear of being judged.

We believe that school libraries are absolutely crucial in promoting reading for pleasure. Every school should have a safe space to discover the magic of reading, with a wide, diverse range of books that appeal to children from all walks of life. One in five children aged 5 to 8 do not own a book of their own at home, and according to the National Literacy Trust, more than 1 in 3 parents are buying fewer books due to the cost-of-living crisis. This makes access to a school library even more important.

And let’s not forget that a great school library isn’t just a room full of books. Every school library should have a school librarian, either in-house or through a school library service, who can provide children with the encouragement, knowledge and expertise they need to help develop a lifelong love of reading.

There’s more detail about the findings, including some interesting comments from children around about their feelings around reading for pleasure, over at the World Book Day website.


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