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Special initiative: Reading for Pleasure

‘Reading for Pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s future success’. (OECD, 2002)Four children reading books

OU research in this area has shaped a Reading for Pleasure (RfP) movement which seeks to enable practitioners to enrich their knowledge and practice, schools to create cultures of reading and stronger links with parents and young readers who benefit from being members of vibrant reading communities. 

Click on the tabs to find out more about the diverse initiatives created from the original Teachers as Readers project and subsequent research.



Reading for Pleasure website

The Teachers as Readers (TaRs) research project was a two phase OU/UKLA project which explored children’s and teachers’ reading lives and established effective ways to support Reading for Pleasure (RfP).

The RfP web space is informed by the TaRs project and aims to support a vibrant professional community of teachers, student teachers, librarians, teaching assistants and literacy coordinators.

The research found that in order to effectively nurture children’s RfP, they needed to develop:

  1. Knowledge of children’s literature and other texts
  2. Knowledge of children’s reading practices
  3. A Reading for Pleasure pedagogy
    • social reading environment.
    • reading aloud,
    • informal book talk and recommendations,
    • and independent reading time
  4. As Reading Teachers: teachers who read and readers who teach
  5. Reading communities which are interactive and reciprocal.

So that teachers and professionals don’t miss out on these new resources, they can sign up to a free monthly
newsletter to keep connected and up to date.


School Development: Building Communities of Engaged Readers

Since 2018, the OU team have worked with over 25 schools to help them foster a rich reading culture, underpinned by research.  This has enabled staff to review their practice and the children’s attitudes and interest and map out an implementation plan. 

The work has resulted in both 

The Guidance draws on the original OU Teachers as Readers research (Cremin et al., 2014) and a partnership project was undertaken with primary schools from the Aspire Educational Trust, Cheshire and Birmingham Diocese Multi-Academy Trust (2018-2019), and other groups of schools from Nottingham LA and Birmingham (2019-2020) . Staff used the research and resources from the OU RfP site and the Education Endowment Foundation’s Putting Evidence to Work:  School’s Guide to Implementation in order to tailor the development work to RfP. 

‘One of the characteristics that distinguishes effective and less-effective schools, in addition to what they implement, is how they put those new approaches into practice.’ (EEF, 2017).

The leadership resource and its accompanying case studies offers support by focusing on the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of fostering RfP across the school in line with Ofsted (2019) guidance. It documents the professional process and practice of implementation, enabling you to implement evidence-informed RfP pedagogy. 


Teachers' Reading Groups

The OU and UK Literacy Association (UKLA) maintain over 100 Teachers’ Reading Groups. These groups provide free evidence–based CPD for teachers, teaching assistants, early years professionals, librarians, reading volunteers and others to enrich their understanding of reading for pleasure (RfP) and how to support it. Led by volunteer OU/UKLA Teachers’ Reading Group Leaders, the groups are well-attended, provide support and foster community. Virtual meetups enabled the groups to continue even through the Covid-19 period.

The aims of the groups are:

  1. To foster children's reading for pleasure through supporting teachers’ /members’ own RfP and research-informed practice;
  2. To support the profession by building a professional community around RfP locally and online;
  3. To share teachers’ resultant development work on the OU RfP website. 

Each group receives a book box containing a diverse and rich variety of new children’s literature and texts, with the support of UKLA. Through discussion and ‘book blether’ teachers can read and recommend texts and also reflect on their own practice guided by OU research. Finally, these reflections are posted on the RfP web space in the form of an ‘Example of Practice’; a mini case study to inspire others. All members who do so are given a certificate by the OU in recognition of their contribution.

TRG’s take place across regions in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as internationally in Australia, Dubai, New Zealand and Paris. Coram Beanstalk, a charity which helps provide one-to-one literacy support for children form part of the TRG’s too.

Anyone with an interest is welcome to join, click here to find your local Teachers' Reading group.



Reading at Home Support

During the Covid-19 period, the OU in collaboration with teachers created new resources to support readers at home. These were informed by OU research on building communities of readers and Reading for Pleasure (RfP) pedagogy: Reading aloud, Time to read as a family and Book chat.

The resources were shared with parents, school staff, reading hubs and governors through the RfP website, newsletter and social media campaigns.

  • Top Ten Storytime’s
  • Sharing the Love of Reading
  • Supporting Readers at Home poster
  • Examples of Practice

To access these resources and more, please visit Supporting Reading at Home



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