Getting kids reading in secondaries - are yours readers? Do they hate reading? Are they not bothered? What works?(15 Posts)
Ahead of our first Bookfest event on 25 June, we’ve been asked by an education magazine to find out a little more about your thoughts on ‘how best to nurture a reading culture in secondary schools’.
Have you ever had any particularly effective help from your DC’s secondary school to support a reluctant or struggling reader?
Is there any project or event or one particular thing which your DC’s secondary school does, even with scarce resources, which you think does a brilliant job of encouraging their pupils to read for pleasure?
Has your DC ever loved a book they were studying at school? Do you think that was a case of enjoying the book despite having to do some work over it or because they had interesting or even inspiring lessons?
Are you asking about reluctant readers or struggling readers?
Ie pupils who don't like reading, or people who can't read?
The most effective thing a school can do is stop lumping kids who can't read with kids who don't like reading.
DS after about the age of 8/9 was reluctant to read any new fiction. He read a lot of Nippon-fiction and was a pretty competent reader, but it frustrated me that he was missing out on the joy of reading novels.
This all changed when he was about 15 when one of his teachers encouraged him and some friends to start a book club. It was a brilliant idea, she used up part of one of lunchtimes every fortnight to help them get the discussion going, suggested books they could try, but generally left them to organise themselves.
Now at the grand old age of 24, he still belongs to a book club he helped establish at uni.
Nippon = Non. What a strange auto-correct!
Ds' primary, in conjunction with the other primaries in their learning cluster and their catchment secondary (Scotland, so we can plan these things ), studied 2 of Lari Don's books in P6/P7 (this is the 1st book of the trilogy: First Aid for Fairies and Other Fabled Beasts (Kelpies: Fabled Beasts Chronicles) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1782501371/ref=cmsww_rcpp_awd_yKugxbJD0QPZX ) and then they study the 3rd book in S1 at secondary.
Ds was going to a different secondary via a placing request, but because he'd enjoyed the 1st 2 books so much, I had to buy him the 3rd so that he could finish the trilogy. This is particularly impressive, given that the main protagonist is a teenage girl (who wants to be a vet like her mum).
The primary school tells me that it has been a successful initiative. Unfortunately, I'm not sure it would work as well in England, since there isn't the same certainty and progression from primary to secondary, so therefore not the same incentive to build links between catchment primaries and secondaries.
Author visits are great to create a buzz.
Plus, most importantly, a brilliant school librarian. Qualified, enthusiastic - they are worth their weight in gold.
Get involved in book awards - have school votes. Get a great librarian on board and they'll be on top of it.
Ban tablet computers at home. DS was a bookworm until he got one.
Encouraging dc to read ANYTHING rather than a focus on "the right sort of books" (although I think this should have started in Primary) - joke books, encyclopaedia, newspapers, magazines, etc.
When dd1 was in Yr10 the were reading partners for Yr7s, so a considerable chunk of Yr 7 got into the routine of reading for 10mins a day to someone else (I know this is done in a lot of schools) - perhaps more for those who are struggling than those who are just not keen.
ERIC for 10 mins of form time ??
Mine were both readers at secondary level; as adults DD moved to online reading mostly and a kindle.
DS is still obsessive and is rarely more than a few metres away from his latest book.
Always had books around at home, both parents read a lot and were seen doing so.
Had fiction and non-fiction available, books were never treats or bought with pocket money, they were as necessary as clothing.
Didn't have to finish a book, we talked about what they were reading and what we were reading and recommended stuff to each other. Both children read a lot of manga at one point and it's still a regular choice for them.
I think enthusiasm from adults, and that reading isn't made 'Part of the curriculum you are going to be tested on' go a long way.
Dd was an avid reader in Primary but reads reluctantly and very little now in Secondary school. In part it has been English lessons that have killed her love of reading, she hasn't liked the texts used at all or the topics they have centred on (War and Disturbed Minds so far in Y8) she finds the dissecting of texts boring and repetitive and that it spoils her enjoyment.
Another reason for her reluctance to read has been her growing interest in Art and Music so spare time is used to draw,paint or play piano rather than read.
Where she used to go to the library both at school and in town at Primary now she won't use the library at school fundamentally because the librarian does too much directing rather than allowing free choice and dd finds that intrusive.
I think freedom to choose and discard and sample is essential. Otherwise how will they develop a sense of what appeals? If you are told to read what's good for you and made to finish it, why would you return if you are force-fed something you disliked? I'm not talking about curriculum but reading for pleasure and wonder.
I didn't make mine clear their plates at dinner either.
My DS hates reading sadly. I put it down to years of struggling initially until his autism and ADHD were identified. Once ADHD had been identified my DS went onto medication and within three months of this he finally mastered reading. Sadly the association with anxiety was well established and now he reads only if he has to. He is in Y8 at a special school and while he is quite happy to access reading to find information he does not read for pleasure.
He loves audiobooks though and I put this down to having been read to almost from birth. We still have books he loved hearing as a toddler and during preteen years. He still loves hearing them now
but don't tell him I told you that
Ds is Y8. He's enjoyed some of the books they've studied at school, currently doing 'Refugee Boy' which I hope will lead him to read more Zepheniah.
He is supposed to follow up any books he reads outside of lessons with quizzes on Accelerated Reader, which he's currently refusing to do as he says it spoils his enjoyment.
We were talking about this during the week, I am surprised the teachers don't actually ask what pupils are reading and engage them in discussion about their choices, and get them recommending to each other. This would've far better then a computer quiz.
All reading encouragement here comes from home. We sometimes all read the same book and talk about it. Dp still reads to ds every night so he can access books with perhaps more complex themes and language, and they discuss as they go. Ds then often tells me about the books.
Alfie my ds is a very able reader and we still return to his old picture books as they are often so well written and illustrated.
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