Reading for pleasure (why it is important)

Roberts (2010) argues that leisure is an important part of modern industrial societies. The time available for leisure is balanced between the interaction of social, psychological, and cultural dimensions of society. Medaille (2011) identified that reading for pleasure is important in the healthy development of self-identification, self-construction, and self-awareness.

The importance of literacy in schools is unchallenged. Students must learn to read to access the curriculum. While each syllabus has language technical to itself, reading is the key that unlocks success in learning. Explicit teaching of reading develops the necessary understanding and knowledge used to decode information from text. Effective readers develop the skills and understanding of language to make and create meaning, the central purpose of literate behaviour.

Reading is a life skill that gives voice to the world around us.

How often do you think about reading for pleasure?

Increasing workloads and teacher shortages are pushing and pulling teachers and school leaders in every direction. Planning lessons, responding to emails, and crafting newsletters are necessary and important tasks. Meeting compliance deadlines, online learning, and reporting to parents and staff are part of the function of schools. Each task requires reading; to understand, apply and engage with the craft of teaching and successfully manage a school.

Research has shown that reading only for work is less enjoyable, reducing cognitive processes to those that rely on repeated information. Reading for pleasure is not done for work or everyday life functions, it is reading for its own sake: reading because you want to, because you enjoy it. Clark and DeZouya (2011) report that reading for pleasure increases comprehension, improves memory and enhances the attainment of knowledge. Reading for pleasure reduces stress, increases imagination and creativity, and is emotionally stimulating, developing empathy, and increasing confidence.

Those of us who remember the musky smell of novels and books of poetry sitting on library shelves might find the advent of on-demand electronic books challenging. The weight and texture of paper books appeal to those of us born pre-1986, a time before the internet. Newspapers and magazines, even comics have moved online or scaled down in size, from broadsheets to smaller pages.

We live in a digital age and opportunities that evolving technologies and changing work practices present need to be balanced with healthy self-care practices. Reading for pleasure should be part of the time that you spend to refresh and reignite your energy, to continue your adventure to be the best version of yourself.

What book are you reading at the moment?