Making Reading Fun

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An article appeared in The Atlantic recently covering a very important topic–how can we teach kids to enjoy reading, so that it becomes a pleasure and not a chore?

“Reading is indeed crucial to success in school and in careers.  But we worry that discussions of reading, especially public policy discussions, focus almost exclusively on its utilitarian value. What’s missing is the pleasure readers derive from the reading they do. ”

The article then offered findings from a study that took children who were avid readers outside of school as its subjects, and examined what types of pleasure they obtained from it.

“In our study of the out-of-school reading lives of 14 eighth graders who were avid readers of texts often marginalized in schools (romances, vampire stories, horror stories, dystopian novels, and fantasy), we strove to understand the nature and variety of reading pleasure.  We found that our participants were remarkably articulate about why they read what they read. ”

As it turned out, there were a few reoccurring types of pleasure that these children were deriving from their reading experiences. These were divided into four categories:

Play Pleasure

Inner Work Pleasure

Intellectual Pleasure

Social Pleasure

For the first category, play pleasure, the students enjoyed entering a fantasy world as a means of play and escapism. Inner work pleasure referred to the way in which reading allowed the students to develop their own sense of identity. Intellectual pleasure came from the experience of being a sort of detective and synthesizing information in the material. Finally, social pleasure referred to the way in which reading allowed the students to connect to each other, through a shared interest in the books.

“If we want students to embrace reading now and always, then we need to keep at the forefront of our attention the rich, complex, and profound pleasures of reading.”

Click here to read the full article.

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