The power of collaborative learning

Should we abandon reading for pleasure?


Thanks to @SteveWillshaw for writing this blog post about Reading for Pleasure.


Let’s be clear about this from the start.

I have nothing against reading –

I am a massive supporter of reading. It can have a very positive impact on many aspects of people’s lives, especially young people. Nor have I anything against pleasure! My concern is that yoking the two together doesn’t do reading any favours.

Reasons why we should stop talking about reading for pleasure.

1. It sounds like special pleading. “Yes, honestly folks, you will enjoy this!”
We wouldn’t use this approach with sports or arts, both of which many people find pleasurable, so why do we with reading?
2. It encourages a range of negative responses. “Who says it is pleasurable? I don’t enjoy it and I’m not going to do it. You can’t force me to enjoy it!”

Alternative approaches
1. Find as many different ways of encouraging all members of the school community to read…

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Author: TeachAldenham

Online profile of TeachAldenham, Aldenham School Teaching and Learning Group. teachaldenham.wordpress.com Find us on twitter @teachaldenham

2 thoughts on “Should we abandon reading for pleasure?

  1. As an English teacher I have found the task of getting students to read wllingly nearly impossible, even in A Level Literature! The most common question/complaint I receive from parents is ‘how do I get them to read more?’ The answer I’m often tempted to give is ‘You tell me, because I’m fresh out of ideas!’

    I agree completely with Willshaw’s point that reading should not be seen or promoted as ‘optional’ for students. If we had the same expectations of students to read as we do to learn Maths, their understanding of its importance would be very different.

    Unfortunately, we do take a rather simpering approach to promoting reading and as teachers, we have lowered our expectations as well. We accept, for example, that most boys do not like to read.

    Reading is vital to success in all areas of learning and there are many cross-curricular projects that could be put in place to ensure all teachers and subjects promote the value and necessity of reading widely. If we continue to place the sole responsibility of ‘making reading fun’ within the hands of the English department, then we ignore the importance of it as a crucial area of learning and development and a whole-school responsibility. Everyone needs to be on board in raising standards and setting expectations in regards to reading – teachers, parents and students. It is a life-skill, not just something necessary for passing GCSE English.


  2. I think it’s a case of setting a good example and gently showing pupils where reading can take them. As C.S. Lewis said: “Those of us who have been readers all our life seldom realize the enormous extension of our being which we owe to authors.”


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