Why reading for pleasure isn’t just for term time

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Reading for pleasure

Deborah Maclaren, MD of LoveReading, LoveReading4Kids and LoveReading4Schools explains why reading isn’t just for term time and why it is important to encourage children and young people to read for pleasure over the summer break.

Every teacher encourages their children and young people to read, in class and at home, but when the summer holidays come around, six full weeks off school, how can you encourage your children to not only continue reading, but continue reading for pleasure?

When I was growing up, we weren’t a household with many books, but from the age of five, I fell in love with books - the characters, the illustrations, I was hooked! I was a regular at my local library and right through my formative years, I continued to read voraciously but didn’t really have any advice as to what I should read next.

Each year thousands of children's books are published for all ages so it’s not often easy to recommend books – the choice is vast! At LoveReading4Kids and at LoveReading4Schools we feature our favourite books to help guide children, parents, and teachers across the country to books that will engage and excite.

After much debate, here are some of the 2022 stars that could be great summer holiday reads – a selection of brilliant books for every age range, from primary through to teens.

Primary recommendations

Reception/ Year 1/ Year 2
Marv and the Pool of Peril
This 5+ age range is critical for the newly independent reader finding their feet. They’re starting to lose interest in picture books and want chapter books, but illustrations are key as full scary pages of text can be off putting. And Alex Falase-Koya delivers this in spades in Marv and the Pool of Peril, with a fast-paced adventure set at a
waterpark birthday party. This action-packed story is lively and fun, and with cartoon illustrations on every page, it’s a delight for this age range!

Year 3/ Year 4
Neon’s Secret Universe
Neon Gallop is trying to be as normal as she can when her family move home. But all her plans go wrong when a green lipstick found in goo opens the portal to the Universe! From Sibéal Pounder, the best-selling author of the fabulous Witch Wars and Bad Mermaids series, this quirky fantasy tale will transport your young readers through the summer holidays.

Year 5 / Year 6

The Shark Caller
Zillah Bethell was born in the shadow of the volcano Mount Lamington in Papua New Guinea. She grew up without shoes, toys or technology. Consequently, she spent a lot of time in the sea swimming and in canoes and we are glad she did as we join her, diving beneath the waves, with this spell-binding adventure of friendship,
forgiveness and bravery, set on the shores of Papua New Guinea. I defy you to find anyone that has read The Shark Caller since it hit the shelves last year, and not adored it. A gripping and inspiring read.

Secondary recommendations

Year 7 - Year 11

We Were Wolves
The award-winning illustrator Jason Cockroft returns with a beautifully atmospheric book for 11+ readers, rich with symbolism and deep in the natural world. Readers will be captivated by the tale of Medal Boy, who lives alone in a caravan in the woods, while his dad is away in prison. Carefully handles themes of father-son bonds and PTSD with a powerful, artistic style.

Oxygen Mask
Our July 2022 Graphic Novel of the Month is an outstanding collaboration between Carnegie medal-winning Jason Reynolds and acclaimed artist Jason Griffin. Created to resemble a lined notebook – a written artefact of 2020 – Oxygen Mask connects the death of George Floyd with the rise of Covid, the grip of pollution and protesting victims of tear gas. Though anchored in the age of pandemic, this must-read has a timeless set of messages to share.

Further Education recommendation

Year 12 – Year 13

If You Still Recognise Me
Cynthia So’s compassionate debut is a sparkling story of queer fandom, finding love, and finding your tribe that explores issues of racism, sexism, homophobia and abusive relationships in a coming-of-age story with unexpected complications. Born in Hong Kong, and now based in London, So’s sweetly satisfying first book is sure to win the hearts of many a teenage reader.

Happy holiday – and happy reading!

Deborah Maclaren
MD of LoveReading, LoveReading4Kids, LoveReading4Schools
The LoveReading family — LoveReading, LoveReading4kids and LoveReading4Schools — a keen supporter of Pearson’s My Twist on a Tale writing competition, exists because reading matters, and books change lives.

Reading for pleasure can have a significant impact on the outlook and interactions of entire communities. Pearson heavily supports the need for children and young people to read for pleasure.

Find out more about Pearson’s Primary and Secondary resources.