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How to help our children develop a habit of reading for pleasure

January 10, 2023
At Mosey we talk a lot about reading for pleasure, but what does that mean exactly?

Reading for pleasure is reading we do of our own free will, just for fun. For kids, this can be a creative and rewarding experience that opens up new imaginative worlds.

Our goal at Mosey is to encourage children to develop the habit of reading for pleasure.

In our previous blog we talked about the benefits of reading for pleasure – increases in life chances, self-awareness, empathy, and mental health and wellbeing, to name a few – as well as some of the challenges that make developing this habit difficult for children. Today, we want to talk a bit more about these barriers and how Mosey supports families to overcome them.

How can we help children develop a habit of reading for pleasure?

There are four main obstacles to reading for pleasure that we’re tackling with the Mosey app:

Choice: Choice, interest, and motivation are highly related. Children are more likely to read for pleasure if they can choose their own books. That’s why Mosey will offer a wide and diverse library of titles and makes it easy for children to find books that suit their interests and reading abilities.

Access:  One of the central reasons children don’t read for pleasure is that they don’t have access to interesting, high-quality books. Mosey brings an entire library into children’s homes with just the click of a button, and we’re dedicated to reaching the families who need this help the most.

Inclusive design: Children with special educational needs can find print books challenging to read. If you can’t read something, you can’t enjoy it! Mosey enables children to choose display settings that work for them, including custom colour combinations, different fonts, and larger sizes.

Diversity and representation: It’s vitally important that children find their own experiences, community, and identity in the books they read. If children from under-represented groups don't see themselves reflected in the characters or stories that make up their reading experience, it makes it difficult to form a meaningful connection with books and, as a result, develop a habit of reading for pleasure. Moreover, books with inclusive stories and characters teach empathy by helping children understand the cultures and experiences of people who don’t share their race, sexual orientation, religion, or socio-economic status. This is why we’re passionate about diversity and representation at Mosey, and are working hard to make sure our app offers a truly inclusive range of books.

Alongside these key factors, it’s also extremely important that children are able to practice reading outside of school. Independent reading is fundamental to reading for pleasure, but children need plenty of practice to develop these skills. The best way to practice reading for ages 5-8 is by reading aloud, ideally to a grown-up who can support the child when needed. This is called paired reading, but it doesn’t always work for everyone. Grown-ups might not have the time or energy to read with their child every day, children might find reading frustrating and reading together becomes an experience full of friction rather than enjoyment. Sometimes, grown-ups might find reading difficult themselves – whether that's because English isn’t their first language or they're simply not confident in their own reading ability.

How can Mosey help?

The Mosey app encourages children to read aloud and provides them with real-time feedback in a supportive and non-judgmental way. They can practice daily on their own and you can join in when you can. And if reading together is tricky the app makes the process a whole lot easier!

In our future post, we'll dive deeper into each of these factors and will discuss further why they are crucial to reading enjoyment. Make sure to keep reading and do get in touch if you'd like to share your thoughts.

Dr Laura McKenzie has spent the past ten years working in academia and the subsidised Arts across organisations including Durham University, New Writing North, and Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children's Books. A lot of that work focused on supporting children and young people's reading, with a particular focus on building engagement with non-mainstream groups. At Mosey, she's delivering impact-led projects around reading for pleasure and helping to develop partnerships with researchers, universities, and third sector organisations.

We are currently testing the early version of the Mosey app on Apple TestFlight and will soon also start testing on Android devices. If you'd like to try our app and share your valuable feedback, sign up below and we'll be in touch with further details.

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