A Foreword by Alan Gibbons

Why Reading for Pleasure Matters

A reading child is a successful child. So says the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. This body has concluded that reading for pleasure is even more important than a child’s home background in determining academic and social success.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Children who read regularly and for fun open up new worlds. They embark on journeys. They step into other people’s shoes and walk around in them, as one truly great writer put it. They empathise with people from different backgrounds, different countries. They find it easier to understand, even change the world around them. Maybe most importantly, they embark on the most epic voyage of all, the one that takes them deep into their own identity and imagination.

But where do you start? There are so many books, stories of adventure, comedy and romance, spies and monsters and real life. There are picture books to read on Mum or Dad’s knee, quick reads you can devour in an afternoon and extended, challenging series in which you follow a vast array of characters across the continents and down the centuries. The good news is that there are dedicated groups of book-mad people who spend hours choosing the right title for the right child. They’re called librarians and they put together guides like this one.

There are signposts in these pages. Readers, teachers and parents can use them to find their way to great treasures.

Alan Gibbons is an award winning author and organiser of the Campaign for the Book


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