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“I hate reading. It gets right up my nose!”
This was the response one 8-year-old boy in Wales gave to a colleague when she asked him the first question of the Catch Up® Reading Interview (Assessment 1), “Do you like reading?”.
Clearly, he would not get a tick for the DfE teacher assessment performance descriptor ‘regards reading as a pleasurable activity’. It’s worth noting that the requirement to ‘enjoy reading’ is not just for pupils working at or beyond national standard. It applies just as much to pupils who are working below national standard. Teaching ‘pleasure in reading’ is now a statutory requirement in the English national curriculum.
Of course, there isn’t a teacher in the land who wouldn’t want children to enjoy reading or who doesn’t do their utmost to foster a love of reading in all children, but ensuring it happens is no mean feat.
As adults, most of us like the things we are good at. We are less likely to persevere enthusiastically with something that we find difficult, particularly so, if others seem to find that task easy. Younger pupils who struggle with reading sometimes declare they enjoy reading but I suspect that is usually because they don’t want to disappoint their teacher! But as those pupils move up the school they may vote with their feet and adopt a ‘can’t do/won’t do’ approach to reading.
Here are 5 things to try to make reading more fun for pupils:
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