What is reading for pleasure?

Reading is so much more than the process of decoding symbols. Some of the world’s most successful people (Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg to name just two) are big readers. We all know that reading is important and students are required to read in all their subject areas. But reading for enjoyment is especially crucial. Reading enjoyment is more important for the educational success of children than their socio-economic status and reading for pleasure in their own time and at school was one of the critical factors for a successful pathway into adulthood.

The benefits of reading for pleasure

Research verifies the many benefits to reading for pleasure.

Intellectual Emotional Other
Increases educational outcomes Increases empathy for, tolerance and understanding of others Encourages active citizenship
Expands vocabulary Improves overall well-being Expands understanding to a world outside their own
Assists with critical thinking skills Enhances social and family relationships Provides a greater insight into human nature
Boosts knowledge Reduces stress
Improves writing and mathematical skills
Stimulates imagination and creativity
Improves memory


Encouraging your child to read for pleasure

Author Neil Gaiman says I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad book for children… You don’t discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is the gateway drug to other books you may prefer them to read…Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like…You’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and, worse, unpleasant.”

  • Allow your child to choose the books they want to read, whether it is a literary classic like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a manga series such as Naruto, one of Meg Cabot’s chick-lit novels, a non-fiction text about their favourite sports star or a comic like Asterix and Obelisk.
  • Give your child access to many, many books. Visit the local library, encourage them to use the school library, share books with family and friends, give book vouchers as gifts or take them to the bookshop to select books to buy.
  • Schedule time for reading. Students, especially seniors, have many demands on their time. Relaxing with a (hardcopy) book for 15-30 minutes before bed can help to produce the melatonin they require to get off to good night’s sleep. Just 20 minutes of reading per day adds up to 1,800,000 words per year!
  • Model reading. The UK Literacy Association states that young people are more likely to read for enjoyment when this behaviour is modelled by the adults in their lives.
  • Talk to them about books and authors. Have conversations with your child about what they are reading and what you are reading.

Your Kid’s Next Read podcast:  Author Allison Tait and teacher-librarian-author Megan Daley, co-founders of the Your Kid’s Next Read community, talk books and reading for children of all ages. From board books and picture books, to junior fiction, middle-grade novels and YA blockbusters, they’ll help you find the perfect next book for the young readers in your life. Plus, practical tips on getting (and keeping) kids reading and writing, a whole lot of fun.

CTHS Library and reading for enjoyment

Students have a wide variety of books, e-books and audiobooks to choose from. We hold thousands of fiction, graphic texts, magazines, picture books and non-fiction items in hardcopy. Additionally, the library continues to expand access to Project Gutenberg books via the Oliver catalogue.
The collection is kept fresh and relevant by regular purchasing of new and popular titles and we consider requests from students so that they have a stake in the library.
We run a variety of book displays and competitions throughout the year to showcase the variety of books we hold. The library organises an annual literary festival where Year 7 students are given the opportunity to interact with authors, illustrators and poets in workshops and presentations. And of course, we run the annual Premier’s Reading Challenge for years 7-9 and celebrate Book Week.
Currently, library staff are developing the reading section of the library’s web page where we intend to showcase the wonderful world of books and reading.


Centre for Longitudinal Studies. (2018). Reading for pleasure puts children ahead in the classroom, study finds – Centre for Longitudinal Studies. [online] Available at: http://www.cls.ioe.ac.uk/news.aspx?itemid=2740&itemTitle=Reading+for+pleasure+puts+children+ahead+in+the+classroom%2C+study+finds&sitesectionid=27&sitesectiontitle=News [Accessed 13 Feb 2018].

Education Standards Research Team (2012). Research evidence on reading for pleasure. [online] Department for Education (United Kingdom). Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/research-evidence-on-reading-for-pleasure [Accessed 28 Feb 2020].

Natlib.govt.nz. (2020). A school-wide reading culture. [online] Available at: https://natlib.govt.nz/schools/reading-engagement/understanding-reading-engagement/a-school-wide-reading-culture [Accessed 28 Feb 2020]. 

Ricci, C. (2018). Reading for pleasure boosts children academically and emotionally. The Sydney Morning Herald. [online] Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/reading-for-pleasure-boosts-children-academically-and-emotionally-20150810-givft2.html [Accessed 13 Feb 2018].
Popova, M. (2018). Neil Gaiman on Why We Read and What Books Do for the Human Experience. [online] Brain Pickings. Available at: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/08/03/neil-gaiman-view-from-the-cheap-seats-reading/?mc_cid=5173218563&mc_eid=03d8c3e3c3https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/08/03/neil-gaiman-view-from-the-cheap-seats-reading/?mc_cid=5173218563&mc_eid=03d8c3e3c3 [Accessed 13 Feb 2018].
Softlink. (2018). How to get kids reading for pleasure these school holidays. [online] Available at: https://www.softlinkint.com/edu/blog/how-to-get-kids-reading-for-pleasure-these-school-holidays [Accessed 13 Feb 2018].