School Logo

St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary School

Together with God we reach for the stars

Interactive bar

Get in touch

Contact Details

Reading for Pleasure

What is ‘Reading for Pleasure’?


‘Reading we do of our own free will, anticipating the satisfaction we will get from the act of reading. An act of play – one that allows us to experience different worlds in our imagination – a creative and active/interactive process.
— Christina Clark and Kate Rumbold (Reading for Pleasure: A research overview – The National Literacy Trust)


Why reading for pleasure matters

Research shows that the benefits of reading for pleasure are extensive and long-reaching:


  • boosts academic achievement, and provides a foundation for critical, digital and information literacy
  • builds cognitive function and stamina when immersed in the flow of reading
  • develops empathy and knowledge — of self, other worlds, culture, heritage, and ways of being and thinking
  • empowers students to become active citizens
  • improves and builds psychological wellbeing and healthy behaviours, and
  • crucially for young people, can be relaxing and provide an escape.


At St Thomas of Canterbury, we do not underestimate the importance and unquestionable impact that reading for pleasure can have on our pupils. Not only is there strong evidence linking reading for pleasure with academic success, but much more striking is the benefits for ‘whole person’ development, including self-identity, empathy and engagement with the wider world. In an ever-changing and pressurised society, children and young people who like to read are three times more likely to have better mental health than those that who do not (based on research by the Nation Literacy Trust).


Reading for pleasure on a daily basis can have astonishing benefits – relaxation, boost to mood, escape from pressures and reduction in stress. In this sense, reading can help positively impact children feeling regulated, engaged and empowered when dealing with the routine demands of the school day, their work across all subjects and, not forgetting, their time at home.




    Our work in creating and maintaining pupil interest and enjoyment in reading will always be of the highest priority and require on-going commitment, as we continue to strive for best practice, including reviewing and incorporating new approaches, whilst continuing to monitor the impact of our current practices.


    Currently we offer pupils…


    Reading friendly spaces:

    • Inviting and regularly updated class libraries – links to current topics, popular books for the age group, class authors.
    • Spacious and well stocked school library, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, high level picture books, graphic novels, comics, audiobooks and multi-language reads. Teacher recommended reads organised by colour. Open all day and after school for families following the ‘library trail’. Regular purchasing of new titles, including pupil requests.
    • Reading Den KS1&2
    • Book Nook EYFS
    • Termly visits to the local library


    Inspiration to read:

    • Teacher recommendations
    • Carefully chosen ‘Know a Novel’ and other Literacy texts – quality and appeal.
    • Carefully chosen texts to support the wider curriculum – quality and appeal.
    • Peer recommendations
    • Reading leaders appointed in KS2
    • Meeting with our school librarian
    • Visiting the local library with class
    • Local author visits and National author visits (including poets)
    • 'Non-Fiction November' events
    • National celebration days including: World Book Day, Manchester Children’s Book Festival, National Poetry day and much more
    • Visits from the Book Fair/Book Bus
    • Visits linked to texts – e.g. Owl experience visit for EYFS linked to ‘Owl Babies’ and ‘The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark’.
    • Visits to local exhibitions e.g. the Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler exhibition at the Lowry.
    • Continuous provision ‘invitations to play’ linked to class book.
    • Cooking in Reception linked to class poetry


    Time to read:

    • Children invited to read for pleasure when finishing a learning task or between lessons
    • Story time daily – a non-negotiable. Pupils are invited to listen, enjoy and relax. No demands of answering questions or engaging in lengthy discussions
    • Class reads added to the class libraries for pupils to return to and read.
    • Curriculum reading – carefully planned and pitched for maximum engagement and success.
    • Support for parents to engage children in reading at home – both scheme and reading for pleasure
    • Information for parents on the importance of reading TO children and continuing to do this for many years, beyond when the child can read for themselves.
    • EYFS children accessing books within the class library, book nook and other areas of the classroom throughout the day.
    • EYFS children receive two books per week for their parent/carer to read to them at bedtime.


    Valuing reading:

    • Winning a book loan as a prize – e.g. Dazzle Books, STEM books
    • Challenge books – activities to complete alongside reading
    • Staff sharing their ‘current read’
    • Pride taken in class libraries and school library
    • Children chatting to their teacher, TA or our school librarian about their current book


    Book ownership:

    • NEW this year - 'Book Swap' event for families
    • NEW this year - Family 'Book Hampers' raffle at Easter
    • ‘Give the gift of Reading’ day – every pupil in the school receives a book to keep.
    • Book prize for Traffic Light winners (pupils who read 5+ times per week at home Rec-Y3 are entered)
    • Book gift from Santa EYFS (Provided by the Book Trust)
    • Promotion of World Book day vouchers
    • Waterstones gift cards as prizes for whole school competitions

    Did you know that book ownership actually plays a huge part in getting children and young people to read for pleasure? Over 50% of children who have a book of their own say they enjoy reading, compared to just 21% of those who don’t own a book (data from The National Literacy Trust)







    If we invest time in children enjoying reading, not just teaching them to read, will we take away from the importance of learning to read? No, not at all! In fact, the opposite is true. Enjoying reading leads to greater engagement with learning to read and increases success. When it comes to reading for pleasure, it’s a win-win situation.


    Parents and Carers - supporting ‘Reading for Pleasure’ at home


    The impact parental support has on children wanting to read is enormous! There is no greater way to support your child to succeed in school, and indeed in life, than to read to them, with them or encourage them to take time to read for themselves.


    Here are some ideas for encouraging your child to read for pleasure:


      •  Set aside a special time – just a few minutes a day is enough to create a reading habit.
      •  Get caught reading yourself – show that reading for pleasure is not just for children.
      •  Read to each other – if your child really doesn’t want to read on their own, then read together. You read a page, then they read a page. Or one of you could read any dialogue. Be brave and put on different voices.
      •  Value the books they choose to read – all reading is valuable for a child’s development. Some of us prefer non-fiction; some of us prefer comics. One child might like superhero books; another might a book of football statistics.
      •  Set a challenge – can they read twenty books before they’re ten? Can they read a book from six different genres: a comic, an information book, a funny book, a sci-fi book, a classic and an instruction manual?
      •  Reading buddies – reading to a younger sibling can boost your child’s self-confidence and communication skills.
      •  Audiobooks – audiobooks allow children to experience a book above their own reading level. It also allows you to share a book together or make the most of those car journeys. Listening to a story over and over again can improve vocabulary and encourage deeper comprehension.
      •  Read-a-thon – join a sponsored reading event to raise money for charity.
      •  Stage and screen – use your child’s favourite films or games as a springboard into reading. Knowing the characters and storyline can be a helpful bridge into reading a longer story.
      • Book club – find out about local book clubs.

    Matt Goodfellow's visit into school

    Elayne Ogbeta's Visit to School