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Developing a love of reading | Tips from Wellington bookworms

18 November 2019
Everything we know about the benefits of reading regularly and widely – from improved concentration to greater emotional stability – points towards embedding good reading habits from as early an age as possible. We will be examining the importance of reading through a series of articles involving staff, pupils and parents, as we highlight the many different ways to encourage a lifelong love of reading.
We asked Lower Prep bookworms, Alyce and Anlin in year 4, Jade and Darragh in year 5 and Javier in year 6 about their experiences with reading. Each of them were eager to share what, how, where and why they love to read.   What are you reading for fun right now?
Jade: I’m reading the Wings of Fire Adventure book series by Tui T Sutherland. It’s really great as it does a brilliant job of hooking the reader in early on.
Darragh: I’m reading a series of books called Warrior Cats by Erin Hunter. My cousin living in Tokyo recommended them to me and I really liked the first one, so it made me want to read more. I’m also reading Harry Potter because now I love big fantasy series that have lots of books in them. I’ve read the first three already!
Javier: Right now I’m reading Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger. To be honest I don’t really read science fiction, I usually prefer non-fiction, but I found it in my house so I thought “why not?” and just picked it up. It’s a good read, and I like to try something different every now and then.
Alyce: I’m about to start Matilda Fluffywing Helps Out, by Daisy Meadows, because I love birds and I heard that this one is really good.
Anlin: I’m reading the same book as Alyce, it’s great!
Do you enjoy lots of different genres?
Jade: I read all kinds of books but I don’t like non-fiction very much. I like adventure books and fantasy, but nothing too scary!
Darragh: I like most genres. Whenever I finish a series I usually think quite carefully about what I want to read next.
Javier: I personally prefer non-fiction, and I like stories about real people’s lives the most. I like to read about people who have gone to live in another country or culture.
Alyce: I like both non-fiction and fiction. Non-fiction helps me for my future as it has useful knowledge, and fiction books are just good fun when they have lots of magic and cute animals!
Anlin: I’m into adventure mostly, I like to imagine exciting places and people. 
Have you always enjoyed reading or did you ever experience difficulties with it while growing up?
Jade: I didn’t understand English very well when I was younger but when I came to Wellington my English got better and I started to find English books very interesting. I still read Chinese books too, but overall I prefer stories written in English because I find the characters easier to imagine.
Darragh: I didn’t find reading interesting at all when I was younger, I preferred playing football! But when I came to Wellington I started going to the library a lot and I found some books on myths and legends that I really enjoyed. That’s what got me more into reading, I think.
Javier: I didn’t like reading at first, I got frustrated easily and I always wanted to finish the book as quickly as possible. I would check the page number after I finished every page. But soon I realised that everyone was ahead of me so I knew I had to catch up. I started reading easy and simple books, comic books too, but then I moved on to more complicated ones.
Alyce: I always enjoyed it when my parents read to me when I was younger, but I wasn’t so comfortable reading by myself because I didn’t understand lots of words. Now I love it though, because when you start to learn new words it gets easier very quickly.
Anlin: I’ve always loved reading since kindergarten, it just came very easily to me and I found that I enjoyed reading most stories.
What is your favourite thing you enjoy about reading? Why does reading make you feel good?
Jade: When the author describes the characters and the settings really well, when I can picture the world in my head, that’s what I like best. I also like finding out what new words mean if I come across them.
Darragh: I like it when problems get solved and challenges are overcome by the characters, it feels satisfying to know that they have won or done something good. Saying that though, I also really enjoy reading calmer parts of the story, when everything is under control, that’s more relaxing!
Javier: I usually like reading non-fiction because I prefer thinking about things that actually happened. I can see myself in the situation much more easily if it’s a real-life situation. I love getting my head into what’s happening in the book and imagining how I would react if it was happening to me.
Alyce: I like finding out new things, new information. It’s fun to discover things from books. I also love how books make you feel strong emotions – that’s when you know the story is good!
Anlin: I’m never bored when I’m reading. Great stories intrigue me and that’s always a good feeling.
Where is your favourite place to read?
Jade: Anywhere that’s quiet and comfortable will do!
Darragh: I can read anywhere, on the bus, at home, in school, in the library, if the book is good enough.
Javier: I like to read in the library or sometimes in the corridors when it’s quiet.
Alyce: The library, of course! It’s quiet, there are good places to sit and other people are enjoying reading too. At home I like reading on the edge of our big comfy sofa.
Anlin: I don’t have a favourite place, I just need it to be quiet.
If you had a friend who was struggling with their reading or didn’t enjoy it, what advice would you give them?
Jade: Just take your time to find books that are perfect for you. There’s so much choice, so it can be difficult sometimes, but it’s worth it. When you find the type of book you like, stick with it until you are confident enough to try something different.
Darragh: If you’re struggling, drop down to something easy. Then, if you’re reading and you find it boring, it’s too easy and you’re ready for something harder. Try famous writers that are really popular because there is a better chance that you will like it. Don’t go for something really different right away.
Javier: Read the first two chapters and if you don’t have any interest in the story then move on to something else. There’s no point reading something that you don’t enjoy when there are so many other things you could be reading instead. It’s fine to put a book down without finishing it.
Alyce: Books can always help you find answers. Go to the library with a question and you will definitely find the answer there. Also, you pretty much have to read because it’s important for your future, so look at it as something that’s fun but also very useful.
Anlin: Books are a great gift, they open your imagination and they can be a cure for loneliness. They can help you understand other people’s lives and your own life as well, so try and look at books as windows into another world and you will find them more exciting.
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