The Open University (OU) Reading for Pleasure (RfP) coalition is celebrating five years of incredible growth and successful social justice-driven projects and initiatives. It is estimated that the OU RfP research has influenced the reading lives of over 180,000 children* thanks to its hugely popular Teachers’ Reading Groups.
The OU RfP community has flourished, with an impressive 23,000+ Twitter followers and 44,000+ newsletter subscribers. Plus, over 600 teachers have published their work as Examples of Practice on the RfP website, which allows other practitioners to read about and benefit from their research-informed experience.
Over 300 OU/UK Literacy Association (UKLA) Teacher Reading Groups have helped approximately 7,000 members enrich their understanding of reading for pleasure. The groups are year-long CPD sessions informed by the RfP research.
In the past five years, the OU Reading for Pleasure research and resources have reached a vast audience of teachers, student teachers, librarians, teaching assistants and literacy coordinators.
Professor Teresa Cremin, Professor of Education at The Open University, says “It is an honour to be part of such a successful community coalition and to have worked with many passionate expert educators.
“We are delighted to be celebrating this milestone and attribute our growth to the value the coalition brings to so many.
“We want to thank everyone who has been involved with the OU RfP community coalition over the first five years, both practice and research continue to be enriched.”
In 2017, following ground-breaking Teachers as Readers research led by Professor Cremin, the OU Reading for Pleasure (RfP) website was launched. The aim was to share the research findings which established effective ways to support children’s reading for pleasure.
Nurturing children’s desire to read has proven social, emotional, and academic benefits and sharing this research was hoped to enable more young people to become childhood readers and thus advance social justice.
“Finding ways to engage students in reading may be one of the most effective ways to leverage social change.” (OECD, 2021)
An Advisory Group of teachers and UK Literacy Association (UKLA) consultants helped shape the evidence-informed site to enrich the profession’s knowledge and understanding of RfP.
In January 2022, the official Reading for Pleasure Badged Online Course was launched on the OU’s OpenLearn platform, receiving over 2,000 registrations in its first two months. The free CPD course was widen designed to enrich participants’ understanding of reading for pleasure and how it can affect children's life chances, promoting reader engagement across schools, homes and communities
The Open University set up the Teachers’ Reading Challenge, in partnership with The Reading Agency, to expand teachers’ repertoires of children’s texts and equip them with knowledge and skill to confidently promote choice-led reading and participate as fellow readers.
The Open University has also successfully collaborated with Farshore and UKLA to co-found the annual Reading for Pleasure Awards. The awards, now in their fifth year, celebrate teachers, reading champions and schools whose practices make a real difference to children’s recreational reading. Each year case studies are submitted to the RfP website and judges, including Professor Cremin, award prizes for outstanding entries across several categories.
In addition, the team have worked with 34 Higher Education Institutional Partners to support student teachers as readers and future educators.
A very happy fifth birthday to OU RfP!
*Based on average primary classroom size 20/21 (gov.uk)