Reading for pleasure

The NUT believes that reading for pleasure should be a fundamental part of childhood and lifelong learning.

Getting EVERYONE Reading for Pleasure contains a wealth of practical suggestions about how activities to promote reading for pleasure can be introduced back into the classroom or organised on a whole school basis.

This page will be regularly up-dated with members’ contributions so why not bookmark it so it can be your first port of call for all matters concerned with reading for pleasure?

Reading for Pleasure classroom activities

Thank you to Lynne for sharing her classroom resources with us.

This is my version of a tried and tested approach to encourage children to read a range of different sorts of books.  They cross off each type of text as they have read it.  As in Bingo, when they get a ‘line’ (vertical, horizontal or diagonal), they get a small prize (maybe a bookmark?).

Classroom resource: Readingo

I Recommend
I try to encourage children to talk about their favourite books with the class and each other.  I also talk about books I like and why.  Children swap books and I sometimes ask them to recommend books they think other children might like.  I made several of these sheets, with different pictures on, which children can use to write about what they like and we share them with the rest of the class.

Classroom resource: I recommend

My Reading Journey
I wanted the children to think about what they enjoyed reading and to see themselves as active, developing readers.  I encouraged them to think about books they had enjoyed when they were little, what they liked now and what they might like in the future.  They discussed with their parents and carers what they had read when they were younger.  Some talked to their older brothers and sisters and others looked at books for older readers in the library. 

Some of them brought in books they liked when they were younger and they really enjoyed rereading them to each other.  We talked about the pleasures of rereading – and how sometimes it’s OK to read something that’s familiar and fun.  Others were encouraged to try books they might not have known about or thought were too ‘difficult’ because they liked the themes or the pictures.

Classroom resource: My Reading Journey

Book lists

In conjunction with the NUT, Letterbox Library have put together book lists to accompany the resource Getting EVERYONE reading for pleasure. As well as being great reads these stories reflect both the NUT’s and Letterbox Library’s belief that all children should have access to a range of books that reflect their own and other’s identities and that inclusive books are integral for promoting a reading for pleasure environment in the classroom.

Letterbox Library book lists

Two teachers kindly shared some of the books that children in their schools enjoyed reading.

Reading for Pleasure additional resources

Here are a few examples of work taking place in schools to promote reading for pleasure.  We are very grateful to the teachers who took the time to share them with us.  We hope you find them useful.

A whole school Reading Statement

One school produced this statement about how it encourages reading, including reading for pleasure.

The Rights of the Reader

Here’s a great poster (illustrated by Quentin Blake) of Daniel Pennac’s Rights of the Reader.  Check out the main resource for more details and think about making your own posters.

Larger projects that support Reading for Pleasure

During the course of putting together this resource, we came across a number of broader school reading initiatives.  These two local authority sponsored examples include elements that support reading for pleasure and have proved popular with schools in Leicestershire and the North East.  

Other sources of help and support

The following organisations are mentioned in the NUT resource, Getting EVERYONE Reading for Pleasure.  We’ve also included their contact details here for easy reference.

Lovemybooks is a website for teachers and parents of children aged 0-7. The website features book recommendations and downloadable resources, videos and web links to support reading for pleasure. Lovemybooks also provides resources and ideas to support schools and nurseries in setting up LoveMyBooks cafes to promote a culture of reading for pleasure to parents and families.

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education offer highly respected CPD training, resources and book packs.  Their website includes free core book lists, as well as themed lists and books of the week.

The UK Literacy Association offers a range of resources including Building Communities of Readers,a CPD booklet to help teachers develop as ‘reading teachers’ and to record children’s attitudes.  See Getting EVERYBODY Reading for Pleasure for more information.

The National Literacy Trust provide a wealth of useful research and practice materials.  Their Literacy Guide for Primary Schools and Annual Literacy Review both contain sections on reading for pleasure.  They also produce a staff meeting PowerPoint resource, Building Our Knowledge of Quality Children’s Literature.

Contact an Author. Working with authors and illustrators is a great way to get children enthused about books and reading.  Check out to find authors in your area.

Letterbox Library is a children’s bookseller specialising in books which celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion.  They have put together booklists especially for this resource which you can find elsewhere on this website.

CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy offer a range of books about children who are in care or adopted. 

Book Trust’s Letterbox Club provides parcels of books for looked after children.

Bag Books publish multi-sensory books, offer multi-sensory storytelling sessions and provide training for teachers, librarians, parents and carers.

Barrington Stoke is an independent publisher whose titles are edited and designed to minimise some of the obstacles that can make books more challenging for struggling or reluctant readers or those with dyslexia or visual stress.

Clear Vision is a UK postal lending library of mainstream children's books with added braille.  Their books all have braille (or Moon) print and pictures, making them suitable for visually-impaired and sighted children and adults to share.

National Autism Resources  and Different Roads are two US sites with lists of books that may be particularly useful for those working with children with autism.  Most of the books are easily available in the UK.

Mantra Lingua is the World’s largest publisher of dual language books in English and 65 other languages.  They also produce talking dictionaries and devices like the PENpal that will read out text from enabled resources in more than 50 different languages. 

Ethiopian English Readers features many traditional Ethiopian stories that children will enjoy. 

Breaking the MouldThe NUT worked for two years with five primary schools to consider how ‘traditional’ gender stereotypes could be challenged in nursery and primary classrooms.  They have published a series of resources including It’s Child’s Play which discusses a range of books which challenge some of the gender stereotypes that can make it harder for some children to engage with reading

The School Library Association provide advice and support to anyone (not just qualified librarians) who works in a school library.  Their online CPD course Learning About Libraries is for teachers, TAs, parent volunteers and others who have responsibility for the day to day running of a primary school library.  Their journal, The School Librarian,includes reviews of new children’s books.  

Local School Library Services provide similar support – check or to find your nearest one.

Booktime - offers downloadable book guides for early years and primary, activity sheets and session ideas to help you and your class make the most of the annual Booktime event for Reception class children.

Book Trust provides a huge range of resources for using literature in your teaching, book guides for all ages, including teenagers, news and information about children's book awards and interviews with authors. It is particularly strong on poetry.

Readathon is a national organisation which raises money through sponsored reading at individual schools. The money collected helps charities who support children and young people with serious illnesses. It is free to enter and you can hold the sponsored read at any time you wish. There are a range of resources available to promote the event and, as an added incentive, schools receive 20 per cent of their fund-raising total back in the form of a voucher to spend at Scholastic Book Clubs.

The Family Reading Campaign is a partnership campaign working to ensure that the importance of encouraging reading in the home is integrated into the planning and activity of all the key organisations concerned with education, health and parenting. The website includes advice for parents and carers on reading with children.

The Reading Connects family involvement toolkit was written by a wide range of experts in engaging parents and other family members with their children's reading. It is designed for primary and secondary schools and provides the tools needed to reach out to families and encourage them to make their homes reading homes.

Getting the Blokes on Board is a National Literacy Trust magazine aimed at professionals who work with parents. It contains lots of ideas for getting fathers and male carers reading with their children.

If you have any resources you’d be happy to share please send them to