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☰ A Love of Reading

Head's Blog

A Love of Reading

Posted on March 08 2019

There are many things I love about my job, but reading a story to 160 pupils dressed in their pyjamas and onesies (I was wearing my West Ham dressing gown for those of you interested) on World Book Day this week was one of my highlights of 2019. It was a delightful start to a day dedicated to reading; something we want our pupils to experience as much as they can. It is vitally important that children read - an ambition best served by pupils reading what they want to read and being encouraged by adults around them to have a passion to read widely.

At Forest Park, when it comes to reading, we aim to ensure we give as many opportunities to our pupils as possible for them to forge a lifelong love for reading. However, we also want our pupils to learn the mechanics of reading words on a page and comprehend what they mean. We want them to become accomplished and experienced readers: that is young people who see themselves as readers and are motivated to read.

The benefits of reading are well documented and indisputable. There is no doubt that books can transform lives. As Headteacher at Forest Park, on a daily basis, I see evidence of the strong link between reading and engagement with school; between reading and learning; between reading and self-discipline; between reading and an interest in the world we live in and the people we encounter. The Book Trust sites the long term benefits of books as increased educational outcomes, and increased employment opportunities. Reading for pleasure is more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status! The National Literacy Trust also states overwhelming evidence that literacy has a significant impact on a person’s future happiness and success.

Books introduce children into a wide tapestry of knowledge and culture, which can help children understand who they are and the place they hold in the world. Books can serve to enrich our lives and deepen our appreciation and our sense of fulfilment. This is why reading events at Forest Park, like World Book Day this week, have such great value to our learners. Some see this event as a gimmick, a one-off exercise and on its own that may be true. However, at Forest Park, we embrace the message of reading every day of every week. We value the art of story-telling across the school. Stories have always been critical to how we make sense of things: there is nowhere better than stories for children to take risks, test their courage, face their fears and to indulge their humour. It is a way of growing up in a safe environment, testing out personal feelings and responses through others’ experiences.

The most important way to enhance a child’s reading is when we work together - home and school. The one joint piece of work that will have the most far-reaching consequences for our children is our collaborative work on reading. It is about far more than just learning to read: it impacts fundamentally on their learning in general, as nothing else can. I have summarised below what the school will offer your children and then how you can help foster a love of reading at home too. As always, our door is open at Forest Park, so should you wish to discuss your child’s reading in greater detail your class teacher will be more than happy to meet with you to talk.

How we foster a love for reading at Forest Park: -

How you can foster a love for reading at home: -

Nick Tucker

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