The emphasis in the new Ofsted Framework is now firmly on the teaching of reading skills. So, where does reading for pleasure fit in?
A recent Pisa study links the frequency with which children read fiction to their overall attainment. The impact of reading fiction daily was measured at the equivalent of 10 months’ additional schooling. The focus should be on “encouraging young people to engage more with novels and other lengthy fictional texts that encourage deep reading for sustained periods of time” (Professor Jerim, TES 22/10/19).
This kind of reading stamina is more likely to occur where the process is enjoyed. At primary level it’s crucial that we provide the resources that allow all children the opportunity to develop the habit of reading because they want to not because it’s a requirement.
How do we achieve this? Provide access to a broad range of books and stories sufficient to reflect pupils’ diverse backgrounds and allow them to be read alongside a reading scheme that focusses on skills. Use experts to help you select age-appropriate material that fulfils the Framework brief but is also stimulating and engaging. Complement your phonics teaching with books that can be enjoyed at story time. Role model reading and put it at the centre of your school day.
The Framework talks about reading enjoyment alongside knowledge and confidence – the expectation is that the process of learning to read can and should coexist with a reading for pleasure culture.