This booklet is a statement about the complex and multi-faceted process we know as reading. It brings together understandings from many sources as to how children and young people between the ages of 7 to 16 come to enjoy and benefit from books and other texts; and what kinds of books and other texts are most likely to bring enjoyment and benefit to readers. The booklet contains chapters on reading for information and the reading of imaginative literature. It highlights the crucial role of libraries in schools’ provision for learning. It discusses the role of the home in promoting reading, the needs and achievements of readers of English as an additional language, the question of boys as readers, and the reasons why some readers fail to thrive.
The booklet partly welcomes and partly criticises the orders for reading in the new National Curriculum for English at Key Stages 2, 3 and 4, and the new examination requirements for English Language and English Literature at GCSE. It offers an alternative, better-balanced curriculum for reading 7 to 16, grounded in what we now know about how teachers can best prepare learners to continue to gain pleasure, personal enrichment, practical benefit and power from reading for the rest of their lives.