For the love of reading?

I will preface this whole thing with the following: I don’t like reading, I rarely read for pleasure and tend to only read things for function rather than because I just ‘fancy a read’.

For me as an individual, there are far easier and more attractive ways to take information on board. I’d much rather ask someone about something factual, watch the film of the book and watch a YouTube clip over reading the manual any day. That’s just me. There are no right or wrong answers per say and in my large poll of 2 (myself and Mr Dr Ross), 100 percent of respondents reported that they didn’t like reading and tended to only do so when we have to or to find out something specific.

I had quite a heated discussion with some fellow teachers the other evening about whether we can teach kids a love of reading. I don’t think you can, any more than you can teach a love of marmite! Some folks like it and some folks don’t. I find myself quite concerned with the pressure on young learners to ‘love’ reading at the moment, rather than to be able to do it. I don’t love it and never have, but I can do it and value my ability to do it.

I think we can foster an ability to read through learners’ love of ‘stuff’. Through that, we can help enthuse learners and engage them in the act of reading to learn about their ‘thing’. We can start to help learners find things they want to read, so that they practice it and do it. For example, if a learner love K-Pop a magazine on pop music could help them engage with reading. Other learners may love football and want to read the sports pages of a newspaper, whereas others may find computers fascinating and want to read about coding online. All of these use learners’ interests and loves without the learner needing to ‘love’ reading.

I think teaching kids to read through their loves and interests is a more realistic aim, with less pressure on learners and teachers and more emphasis on reading for function and out of interest. I think this is less emotive and more accessible to many learners, particularly those with wobbly literacy.

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