Reading for pleasure practices in school: Children’s perspectives and experiences

Emily Oxley, Sarah McGeown*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: In many educational systems internationally, promoting reading for pleasure (RfP) is embedded within curricula and practice. Primary school teachers regularly and routinely engage in activities designed to encourage and sustain children’s reading enjoyment. However, what are children’s perspectives and experiences of these different practices? 

Purpose: This study sought to: (i) identify relevant research aligned with common classroom RfP practices and (ii) understand children’s perspectives and experiences of these. 

Methods: For (i), a literature review was undertaken to identify research relevant to RfP practices. For (ii), a total of 59 children (51% female) aged 8–11 from four demographically diverse UK schools (2 in Scotland, 2 in England) participated in individual or small group interviews, depending on their preference, to discuss their RfP perspectives and experiences. Data were analysed qualitatively. 

Findings: The analysis indicated the diversity of children’s perspectives and experiences of RfP practices. It allowed exploration of a range of experiences in relation to independent reading, teacher read-alouds, book-talk, reading diaries, quality of book provision, use of technology, annual events and the use of rewards. 

Conclusions: This study provides insight into children’s perspectives and experiences in relation to common classroom practices designed to promote RfP. It points to the need for more research to support teachers’ understanding of the effectiveness of these different practices, and the ways in which they can be enacted to optimise children’s reading experiences and outcomes. Indeed, it draws attention to a disconnect between classroom practice and academic research, raising important issues around classroom practice informing research priorities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalEducational Research
Early online date2 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Aug 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • classroom practice
  • enjoyment
  • literacy practices
  • pleasure
  • primary
  • reading


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