Everyone Agrees – Wide Reading Is Important

At a time when almost everything associated with education is controversial, there is consensus regarding wide reading. Wide Reading is essential for reading development.

However, students need to do more of it. A recent Australian Bureau of Statistics survey found:

Children’s participation in reading for pleasure has dropped from 79% in 2017–18 to 72% in 2021–22.  Of 72% of children who read for pleasure, 32% read for two hours or less per week, and only 2% read for 20 hours or more per week.

The cause? Gaming and social media. As the ABS notes:

Screen-based activities were more popular than reading for pleasure, with 90% of children aged 5–14 years spending at least one hour a week on screen-based activities, and the amount of time spent on screens has increased.

No parent or teacher welcomes this. Everyone realises that quality’s clearly different between reading books (or authentic texts) and playing computer games or sending brief messages and photos on social media. But what can we do about it? Screens are just so much more interesting, aren’t they?

There are things we can do despite this.

First, promote reading on screens – e-books. Take the books to where the kids are.

Next, reduce barriers. One of the most significant barriers to reading for many students is being expected to read material that is too difficult. If reading takes a considerable effort, it can hardly be called “reading for pleasure”. Fit students’ reading capacity to a book’s difficulty.

Finally, reward students’ efforts and progress. It can take some time for reading to become self-rewarding through the enjoyment a good book brings to our lives, so we need to help this process along.

Sounds difficult? Not with LightSail, a new online e-book platform that

  • Gives students online access to over 10,000 books, including decodable readers (and paid access to over 150,000 more.
  • Matches students’ reading ability to text difficulty via the text difficulty scale (Lexile)
  • Tracks progress and rewards progress
  • And it does a whole lot more.

Why not try it out for yourself? 

Click here to sign up for a free trial.