Reading is central to learning. An increasing body of research confirms the importance of reading on academic achievement. Specifically, reading for pleasure is especially beneficial given that children between the ages of 10 and 16 who read regularly have been found to score higher test results than those who don’t. Reading for pleasure was found to have a greater impact on the cognitive development of children in this age range than their parents’ level of education or socioeconomic status (Sullivan and Brown, 2013)
. Reading is also crucial to students’ readiness for the world of tertiary study or work. The clearest differentiator of students’ preparedness to make this transition successfully is their ability to engage independently in close analysis of challenging texts. This finding underscores the need for students to gain considerable experience in reading complex texts at secondary school (ACT, 2006)
The Centenary Library’s reading programme is framed around these two imperatives. Firstly, all students in Years 7 to 9 visit the library on a fortnightly basis. During these lessons, teacher-librarians promote literature relevant to the boys’ ages, interests and classroom learning. This is also a time to practise browsing, borrowing and sustained silent reading. In providing opportunities for regular interaction with a quality collection and an expert on young adult literature, a culture of reading for pleasure is engendered. Secondly, these reading lessons provide students with an opportunity to engage with challenging texts through the close reading of a set text followed by critical questioning which assesses students’ proficiency across a range of reading skills. The data gathered from these fortnightly tests helps to inform reading instruction.
By encouraging reading for pleasure as well as developing critical reading skills, we aim to help our students experience success both here at Churchie and into the future.