With the rise of social media and electronic devices, there is no doubt that benefits of reading for pleasure have been long forgotten. Personally, growing up I have always loved to read. You could find me reading in school, during lunchtime, or reading on the bus ride home. Now, I struggle to pick up a book, relax, and engage in reading for pleasure. Many of us have busy lives and other responsibilities—we understand! We must note, however, that our lack of reading plays a role in the lack of our children reading for pleasure too. While pleasure reading has dwindled in popularity, we must note the many benefits of reading for pleasure such as:
1. Positive Impact on Reading Success
Students who read for pleasure become better readers as they truly engage with the text. Students who consistently read for pleasure display strong levels of text comprehension and grammar. Students can interact with a text on a deep level as they can make deep meaningful connections to the text, self, and the world. When reading for pleasure, the child is not limited to the text provided to them by an educator or a workbook. Instead, the child enacts on their free will to choose a text as they please, a text that they will want to read independently. From pleasure reading, students will be able to obtain greater content knowledge, vocabulary growth, phonemic awareness, spelling, and gain self-confidence as a reader.
2. Reading is Important for Social-Emotional Development
Parents and the home environment play an essential role in fostering a love of reading. Children that see reading for pleasure in their home will understand that reading is a form of entertainment. If children see reading is important to their parents, they’re more likely to see it’s importance themselves. As this habit develops, children are more likely to understand their different feelings, emotions, and recognize the feelings of their peers. It is essential for children to learn healthy ways to self-regulate their emotions.
Pleasure reading also aids in the development of empathy and imagination. Depending on the book, reading introduces many different emotions, situations, and worlds to children. As seen in most children’s books, characters face a problem and work their way to finding a resolution. Through this process, the character and your child will be introduced to a wide range of emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, happiness, jealousy, etc. Through pleasure reading, children will be encouraged to think and problem solve on their own before seeking help from an adult.
3. Positive Impact on Well Being and Relationships
Reading for pleasure is known to be a terrific way to foster and build relationships among children. Children can discuss their favorite book with a classmate, peer, friend, or adult. Children can find commonalities between different books and types of books out there. Through that process, we see our children find their voices.
As students engage in a conversation, they may discuss their favorite parts of the story, their least favorite parts, characters, text to self-connections, plot twists, and even funny moments in the text. Educators can support these discussions by creating a book club or displaying new books in the classroom. At home, parents can create a bookshelf, create a reading nook, visit a local library, or go on a trip to a bookstore. Another great option could be a book swap among parents and families!
Awesome Books to Check Out For K-2
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
- We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
- I Am Enough by Grace Byers (Tip-Top Brain Favorite)
- Pink Is for Boys by Robb Pearlman
- The Dot by Peter H Reynolds
- Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
- Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
- The Sandwich Swap by Rania Al-Abdullah, Kelly DiPucchio (Tip-Top Brain Favorite)
- The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
- Zoey and Sassafras Series by Asia Citro (Tip-Top Brain Favorite)
Awesome Books to Check Out For 3rd-8th Grade
- Frindle by Andrew Clements
- Wonder by RJ Palacio (Tip-Top Brain Favorite)
- Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
- The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
- Crown of Three by JD Rhinehart
- New Kid by Jerry Craft
- Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (Tip-Top Brain Favorite)
- The Hate you Give by Angie Thomas
- Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde
As reading for pleasure among children has declined over the years, we must not let reading become a thing of the past. Reading for pleasure is a healthy habit as it benefits reading success, social-emotional development, and fosters well-being and relationships among children. We must not allow our children to fall into the traps of social media, television, and their all-time-favorite Youtube. Together as educators and parents, we can be role models and prioritize pleasure reading. Check out these tips and tricks to encourage reading for pleasure in your home!