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When Reading for Pleasure Becomes 'A Test'

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

While for some a large library would sound like paradise, for many young readers it can be the complete opposite. Many young readers find a the book shelf full of books daunting. Fear grips as they are told to finish reading a collection of books prescribed by an adult for reading. "These are good books that you must read. Don't read those. They are not good." they are told. Then the anxious adult wants to know if the child is really reading. How to verify that? By asking questions, checking if the right responses come up. In other words collecting 'evidence of learning'.

Reading for pleasure means no testing.

Testing from a parent/teacher perspective is an evidence of learning. For the child it feels like a judgement hence robbing him or her of all the wonderful benefits of reading for pleasure.

Reading for unique experiences and kindling a sense of curiosity.

What is more important is to convey that reading for joy is a requirement rather than looking at reading as another prep for a test. Life as it is, is filled with tests.

A book can be enjoyed for,

  • it's entertaining story,

  • the places it takes us,

  • the new things we learn without the pressure of being tested...

As we read more, we begin to notice different writing styles, the importance of choice of words in creating the desired impact and in the process vocabulary grows.

Any book cannot be universally loved by all.

The perception of any given book differs not only from adult and child but even between young readers. At the Young Readers Club, two different batches chose the book The Code Busters Club- The Hunt For The Missing Spy by Penny Warner. However after reading a couple of pages, one batch chose to stop. They could not enjoy the book. However, the other batch understood the reason why the author has packed a lot of information and the story picks up speed at times and slows down at times. The latter batch continues to read the book. They are now developing their own theories about who the culprit could be and discussing the author's approach to the mystery.

The ability to pick a book is a lesson in independent decision making

Grownups make independent decisions many times. It requires confidence in one's ability to decide what is good and what is bad. Enabling children early on to independently make decisions of their own is an important ingredient to build their confidence. Enabling them to choose books on their own is an easy approach to enable them develop this very important skill. All that one needs to do is to enable them to pick books on their own by observing the cover and then reading the blurb. Only if satisfied by the information available will the book be bought. Even better subscribe to a good library, thus taking the pressure off reading even more. For some reason if a book fails to interest, it is time to return and experiment with another, instead of being stuck with a book that is not delivering joy.

The connection between the ability to appreciate books and writing as a communication skill

Voracious readers need to have some reading material on them at all times. Reading diverse writing is not just entertaining but also gives us a glimpse into what kind of writing is instantly gripping and what kind of writing can put off a reader. Observations that arise there of can be put to use in a variety of writing applications. Writing for children is typically confined to creative writing. While creative writing is a good starting point, it is no way the end. The real world has far more writing applications used for the sake of communication than only story books.


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