Reading for Pleasure is Important!
Reading for Pleasure is defined by the National Library as “Reading we do of our own free will, anticipating the satisfaction we will get from the act of reading”.
The OECD have demonstrated that reading for pleasure was critical to a child’s educational outcomes, increased empathy, and also supported positive mental health outcomes including increased feelings of well-being.
Longitudinal studies show that children who read for pleasure are the most likely to show both strong educational outcomes, and social mobility. Reading for pleasure is a stronger indicator than socio-economic status as to educational and vocational achievement in life.
Reading loss occurs when those who have worked to gain reading skills in an education setting fail to build reading into their leisure or other activities and are unable to maintain their literacy level.
In children it has been demonstrated that significant reading loss occurs over the holidays for those children who do not have access to regular reading material. This loss is cumulative and by the time a child graduates from high school they can be up to two to three years behind their counterparts who read for pleasure over the summer.
In adults a “use it or lose it” factor is noted by the OECD in relation to proficiency in information processing skills. Education levels are less relevant than whether adults are given the opportunity to develop and maintain proficiency.
Reading loss is more likely to impact those in low socio-economic environments who are unable to access regular reading material, and makes the role of school and public libraries incredibly important.