Why reading engagement matters

Children sharing a book.

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Reading engagement matters because of both the immediate magic and joy that comes from reading for pleasure and the long-term learning and life benefits this can bring.

What is reading engagement?

Engaged readers:

  • get immersed in their reading — they read for pleasure, and to satisfy their curiosity
  • discover information and stories that help them learn and achieve
  • are motivated to read and learn more — which makes reading easier and more enjoyable, and creates a 'virtuous circle' of constant improvement.

Social benefits of reading engagement

Reading for pleasure leads to a range of positive individual and social outcomes.

Research about reading for pleasure shows clear links to improved literacy and learning outcomes. But there are other significant benefits too. People who read for enjoyment show greater empathy for others. Reading helps develop critical thinking skills and a flourishing imagination. Reading can reduce symptoms of depression, and improve communication between parents and children.

Lifting literacy and learning achievement

We cannot underestimate the impact of reading engagement on improving literacy and learning. A growing body of research shows that reading engagement is a key element in a student's success. Research by Guthrie and Wigfield found that learning opportunities generated by engaged readers themselves were roughly equal to several years of education at school (Guthrie J.T. & Wigfield A. (2000). Engagement and Motivation in Reading. Handbook of Reading Research. Eds. Kamil, M.L., Mosenthal, P., Pearson, P.D., & Barr, R. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, New Jersey).

Reading matters together with school libraries and digital literacy

We view our 3 priorities, reading engagement, school libraries and digital literacy as interdependent and equally important in supporting student learning and literacy.

The school library and staff play a critical role in helping to create a school culture that supports and encourages reading for pleasure, and digitally literate students. Digital literacy, in turn, needs proficient and engaged readers.