The Department has spoken with World Book Day about plans for the 2021 event, and we are exploring potential opportunities to highlight the importance and benefits of reading for pleasure on the day. The event is an opportunity for young people to celebrate what they most enjoy about reading, and we know that reading for pleasure brings a range of benefits, including: reading attainment and writing ability, text comprehension and grammar, breadth of vocabulary, positive reading attitudes, and pleasure in reading in later life. Further information on reading for pleasure can be found here: https://literacytrust.org.uk/research-services/research-reports/reading-pleasure-research-overview/.
Research also suggests that reading for pleasure is more important for children’s educational development than factors such as their parents’ level of education. Further information on this can be found at: https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Readingforpleasurestoppress.pdf. The Department supports reading for pleasure in a number of ways, including through the National Curriculum and the English Hubs programme.
The National Curriculum emphasises the importance of children listening to, discussing and – as their fluency increases – reading for themselves a wide range of stories, poems, plays and information books. The English Hubs programme is a £26.3 million programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading, particularly for disadvantaged children. Since its launch in 2018 we have invested a further £17 million in this school-to-school improvement programme, which focuses on systematic synthetic phonics, early language and reading for pleasure. The programme has provided appropriate and targeted support to several thousands of schools across England and, in this academic year (2020/21), the programme is providing intensive support to over 850 partner schools.