Reading Science for Pleasure

Written by Hannah Groves, SLA

While some associate ‘reading for pleasure’ with reading fiction, school library staff are well aware that many children also enjoy an array of non-fiction and eagerly engage with books about sport, celebrities, world records and more. But what about science?

How many young people do you think read science books and, more specifically, read them for pleasure? A surprising number actually view such books negatively, considering them by their very nature to be boring or difficult. But there are many benefits to be found from engaging with these titles, which is why the School Library Association (SLA) are pleased to announce the publication of Reading Science for Pleasure, a guide to encouraging engagement with science books in both primary and secondary schools.

In this publication, Ruth Jarman and Joy Alexander draw on their vast experience of working with school library staff, teachers and TAs to offer guidelines for exposing children and young people to the many wonders of science. They present a wealth of tried and tested ideas designed to help young readers uncover the knowledge and adventures contained within science information books, helping pupils find enjoyment in these important, STEM-related titles and feeding their curiosity to cultivate new interests that will valuably broaden their reading horizons.

Often, present-day science information books are actually very appealing, well-written and attractively illustrated. They have the power not only to extend young readers’ knowledge, but also to excite their interest and imagination, and this guide is a useful tool in helping young people successfully develop their curiosity, creativity and scientific connection with the world around them.

Of course, the benefits of reading for pleasure are by no means limited to one genre. Whilst reading is an incredibly powerful tool for learning, it also allows us to relax and research from the National Literacy Trust found that children who engage with reading for pleasure are three times more likely to have high levels of mental wellbeing than those who do not. Especially with everything going on in the world at the moment, there are profound concerns about our young people and it’s important to encourage everyone to think about the small steps they can make that will allow all children to experience the benefits of reading for pleasure.

If you’re looking for where to start, the SLA have created a completely free download to help establish a love of reading in schools. Produced in partnership with celebrated storyteller Alec Williams, Get Everyone Reading is a great first step in encouraging reading for pleasure and serves as a guide through all the different elements which create a positive reading culture, as well as briefly exploring why reading for pleasure is so beneficial. ⁠

About the School Library Association

The SLA is a UK focused charity which supports everyone involved in school libraries. We believe that every pupil is entitled to effective school library provision and the educational, emotional and developmental benefits that come with it. The SLA is committed to supporting, promoting and sustaining high quality reading and teaching and learning opportunities for all in a diverse and changing world.


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