Reading for pleasure

Reading for pleasure

Reading for pleasure is when a child chooses to read, rather than reading because someone has told them to.

It can also happen after a child has been asked to read, when they keep on reading because they’re enjoying it. Reading for pleasure is beneficial for all learners and reading for information doesn’t have all the same benefits as reading for pleasure. 

How can it help?

Reading for pleasure:

  • lets children use their imagination with both immediate and long-term benefits
  • is strongly linked to educational success
  • helps to build important skills, including vocabulary, writing, self-confidence and motivation for learning
  • can help children do well in maths and logical problem-solving
  • can increase empathy and social skills, helping children’s and young people’s relationships with their peers, teachers, family and whānau
  • is reported to be 300% better at reducing stress than going for a walk, and 700% more effective than playing video games. One study showed that tension eased, and heart rates slowed down after as little as six minutes of silent reading.

Who is it for?

All leaners.

Teaching strategies

Talk with your leaner

Take time to talk with them – it could be about books, film or television programmes, or political and social issues, or sharing stories from your childhood or whānau.

Share your love of reading

Children are more likely to be strong readers if they are surrounded by regular readers.  Show your interest by reading your own book alongside older children.

Give them choice

Children are more likely to read for pleasure if they can choose their own books and reading material.  Magazines, books and the internet are all good ways to read for pleasure, all helping to improve reading ability.

Get to know the reader

Do you know:

  • what would make reading fun and engaging them? For younger learners, can they build a reading fort, or nook they could curl up in to read? Do you have access to space outside, or can you find somewhere new for them to read where they won’t be interrupted?
  • something they’re really interested in that you can hook into? Like sports, nature, music, fashion…?
  • what reading material you could connect them to with particular importance for their whānau – letters, diaries or stories from your family history, culture or family members overseas? Or perhaps they could do some online research together with whānau?

Learn more about reading for pleasure on the National Library’s website.