Reading for pleasure or enjoyment is when we read voluntarily because it is relaxing or makes us happy. This also includes when we have been asked to read something, and then continue because we enjoyed it. This is something we normally do independently from school or work, usually at home in our free time.
Reading is also regarded as a form of play. This is because we imagine other worlds or roles for ourselves. Therefore, reading can be a creative process as well as an educational or informative one.
Research has also shown that it is not just reading stories and books that can have a positive impact on education and ability. Reading articles and other forms of writing, for example on the internet, can also be beneficial.
Benefits of reading for pleasure:
There are many educational benefits of reading for pleasure. Children who spend some of their free time reading are more likely to perform well in school. Reading for pleasure can improve understanding, spelling, grammar, and knowledge. Research shows that enjoying reading has more impact on educational achievement than family socio-economic status.
Reading also has a positive impact on our wellbeing. These benefits apply to adults as well as children. Reading can improve empathy and our relationships with others. It can also impact our health by reducing symptoms of stress, depression, or even dementia.
There is a social benefit to reading, as it provides a link to a wider community. Reading for pleasure can improve knowledge and understanding of other ideas, beliefs, and cultures.
How to promote reading for pleasure:
Children having books of their own or being able to choose what they read can promote independent reading.
Enjoyment of reading can also be influenced by a home and/or family environment that values reading. For example, if a child’s parents also enjoy reading then they will be more likely to read independently.
Rewards can also encourage children to read more. The most effective kinds are linked to reading, such as new books or book vouchers.
Of course, access to reading resources is important. Having books of their own will have more of an impact on a child’s achievement than access to digital media. Even a small number can make a difference.
If children are primarily reading online, the benefit can depend on the type of text they are reading. Fiction is the most beneficial genre to read. However, reading non-fiction such as news articles, emails, or chatting online can also have a positive effect.
Libraries and the help of librarians have also been found to have a positive effect on children’s likeliness of reading for pleasure.
It is important that children grow up enjoying reading to help them with their education and general wellbeing. Even for adults, reading stories in particular can improve mood, empathy and creativity. It is the most accessible way to keep learning as we grow.