Encouraging Reading for Pleasure: Widening the support could narrow the gap.

Assignment type: Essay
Author: Samantha Beasley
Submitted: December 2011

While phonics instruction is proven to improve certain elements of reading, it is not clear how this contributes to reading comprehension; a key skill found in children who read for pleasure.  Reading for pleasure is in decline despite its benefits to sociability, academic knowledge and reading achievement.  Children need to be motivated to read for pleasure, and parents play a vital role in this.  Interventions which involve parents such as Paired Reading can cause gains in reading achievement and strengthen the relationship between carer and child, but need to be properly implemented so that interactions use a dialogic style and create a positive climate around reading.  Some families already practice more promote positive reading behaviours than others, so recommending a parent-child reading intervention may continue to exclude those families who tend not to access such practices for reasons such as language and culture barriers, reading difficulties and negative attitude toward reading.  Parents could therefore benefit from literacy support too, developing their own skills alongside their children whilst learning how best to support their child, in the form of a family literacy programme.  The potential contribution of an Educational Psychologist (EP) is considered throughout.

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