How To Encourage Reading for Pleasure in Your School

How To Encourage Reading for Pleasure in Your School

The best way for a child to improve their reading skills is to read, read, and read some more; but sometimes, getting them to actually read can be tricky. Having enforced ‘you must read for 15 minutes’ moments can make reading feel like a chore, which is not what we want. The best readers are the ones who love reading, and do it for pleasure, so they read because they actually want to. So how can we, as teachers, encourage a love of reading and encourage our students to read for pleasure? Here are 5 of our best tips to get your students reading…


Model it

How do we teach children that reading is fun? We show them! It can be so difficult to find time for class reading in your week when there is always so much to do, but if you’re focusing on encouraging reading for pleasure, it can be so helpful. If you work with younger children, you can read a new and exciting picture book each time. If you work with older children, you can read a book over a whole term and read a chapter a week – this can be especially effective if you choose a book where the chapters end in exciting ways or with cliffhangers, so the children always want to keep going! When you start the book, let the children know that you love it and why you love it, so you’re modelling enjoying a book. And try to read it in an exciting way – react to the story yourself as you’re reading. Did something shocking happen? Don’t just keep reading like an audiobook narrator would – pause and react yourself to model your enjoyment of the story!

Remember Reading Rocks

If you want some inspiration, look no further than Reading Rocks. We are big fans, so much so that we created a Reading Rocks badge – have a look here! Reading Rocks offer book subscription boxes for teachers and schools for all different year groups. It’s a great way to get new and exciting books sent straight to you, especially if you don’t have time to keep up with all the new book buzz yourself.

Regular reminders

In order to really make reading a habit, talk about it regularly, and bring it to your students’ attention whenever you can. One way to do this is with our reading praise cards or our reading stickers. If a child has read with you one on one, or told you about a book they’re reading at home, or been inspired by a book, acknowledge this with a praise card or sticker to really highlight the enjoyment that can be gained from reading. If a child mentions a book, jump on it. Maybe they’re drawing a picture based on a book they read – can they tell you a bit more about the book? Did they enjoy it? Thank them for sharing the book with you by giving them a sticker or praise card!

Create exciting displays

Another way to keep reading at the forefront of students’ minds, and to make it exciting, is to dedicate a display to books! You can celebrate reading by creating an area to show all the different books you have read together as a class. Pin up some string and attach little printouts of book covers, and watch the string fill up over the term. Don’t worry about forgetting to add a book once you’ve read it – the children will remind you! We also love the ‘Bookflix’ display idea. You could make this an interactive display by building it with your students’ recommendations, so they feel involved and can recommend books to one another. You can also regularly update this as it is quick to do, swapping out a book here and there for a new printed picture of a cover. Tes has a free printable resource so you can create your own bookflix display, find it here.

Ask children to share their favourites

Even if you have a student who says reading is boring…most of the time, they can think of ONE book they have read and enjoyed. Make sure not to place limitations on what ‘counts’ if you have a child who says they don’t enjoy reading - it doesn’t have to be a ‘chapter book’, what about a comic-style book? I’d challenge any child NOT to enjoy a Dogman or a Bunny vs Monkey book! See if you can find time, even once a term, to have a little ‘show and tell’ session, where children can share a favourite book. Students hear their teachers talk about books all the time, but it can be especially impactful if they hear their own peers talking about enjoying reading. Plus, children may find treasures that you hadn’t thought to highlight, so you can learn from their picks too!

Use books to inspire lessons

Incorporate books whenever you can, and do lots of different things with them! Using books to kick off a lesson can be a great way to find time to read if you have a really busy timetable. Can you use a book with an interesting art style to inspire an art lesson? Can you read a story with an important moral or lesson to spark discussion for a PSHE lesson? What about a book set in another time for a history lesson? Starting a lesson or a new topic by reading a book can be a great way to introduce the subject in a gentle and engaging way, and a great excuse to read even more!

How do you inspire a love of reading in your classroom? We’d love to know!