Reading for Pleasure

A passport to everywhere

By: Kenny Pieper


Or purchase digital products from our partners:


Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 180 x 148mm
Pages : 160
ISBN : 9781781352670
Format: Paperback
Published: December 2016

In Reading for Pleasure, Kenny Pieper has gathered a range of tried-and-tested strategies to get kids reading, and enjoying it. We hear too often that kids don’t read any more: Kenny thinks it should be every teacher’s mission to prove this isn’t true. In a squeezed curriculum it can be tempting to accept pupils’ lack of reading and make excuses that there is not enough time to give to the ‘luxury’ of personal reading. Teachers do this at our peril. Reading is the essential building block of further literacy development as well as a skill, hobby and habit that we can take with us forever.

Kenny Pieper takes the act of reading for granted, as many – but sadly not all – adults do. You’re reading this right now. However, this isn’t the case for everyone. Kenny teaches kids whose lives are terrifying obstacle courses of reading-related problems. They know they struggle with reading so they try to avoid reading at all costs. They leave school, not merely unaffected by this strange reading thing, but saddled with a great deal of emotional baggage about being an outsider, even more entrenched in a belief that reading is for others more intelligent than them. Then there are the children who can read perfectly well, but chose not to, unconvinced of the importance of reading in their lives. What difference does it make to them? We have to answer that question in school. We have a duty to put an end to illiteracy and aliteracy. Kids need reading role models and, as a teacher, that role model is you. You may be the only adult who that reluctant reader will ever see reading. Teachers are critical in giving all children the gift of being able to read well and to value reading.

Topics covered include: the author’s personal reading journey, how reading enabled him to become the first person in his family to go to university and convinced him that fostering a love of reading is his moral duty as an educator, illiteracy and aliteracy, reluctant readers, book reviews, prioritising personal reading by devoting ten minutes each lesson to it, habitual reading, the reading environment, interest inventories, technology, e-readers, Accelerated Reader programmes, recommended reading, building a class library, bookmarks, book tweets, book speed-dating, libraries, librarians, literacy and class inequality, parental involvement, podcasting, reading records, reading dialogue journals, the rights of the reader, reading aloud, silent reading and literacy and gender, amongst others.

The benefits we can all reap when kids become confident readers who read for pleasure are obvious. Discover strategies which will: get kids talking about books, get them thinking about books, get them reading books, encourage independent reading, develop literacy skills and establish a classroom culture where reading is expected and celebrated.

Suitable for primary and secondary teachers, leaders and SENCOs, or just anyone with an interest in or responsibility for getting kids to read.

Picture for author Kenny Pieper

Kenny Pieper

Kenny Pieper has been teaching English for fifteen years and still loves every minute of it. He stands shakily on the shoulders of giants in the shape of his amazingly inspiring colleagues. Deep down, he still can't believe his luck that he gets to do this.

Click here to listen in on Kenny's podcast with Pivotal Education on How to get children reading for pleasure'.


  1. The full title being -˜How to Teach Reading for Pleasure' by Kenny Pieper but don't let that put you off. Aimed primarily at teachers with plenty of tips for how to bring to life the reading for pleasure habit yet with plenty for parents to consider too.

    Read this book. It's made me think about reading in such a different way.

    After reading the first chapter I realised how much I stopped myself from buying a book because of some preconceived notion I had about what I -˜should -˜ be reading. Phrases like “I'll never get through 500 pages on history” or “why am I considering reading about Norse mythology?” these are the kind of things I would tell myself as I browsed the bookshops.

    Click here to read the full review.
  2. Anyone concerned with or connected to reading and how to develop a love of it in children should read this book. Though I think this book is specifically targeted at secondary teachers like Pieper himself, as a primary school teacher, I have taken lots of practical tips and ideas, implemented many of his suggestions and have passed on recommendations and advice to friends.

    To read Ben King's full review click here to visit The Chartered College of Teaching website.
  3. Part of the How to Teach series, Reading for Pleasure: A passport to everywhere is a guide by teacher Kenny Pieper filled with strategies to not only persuade kids to read, but also to get kids to enjoy reading. Chapters discuss the importance of regular library visits, the value of e-readers, constructive ways of talking and writing about reading, the special challenges of encouraging boys to read for pleasure, and more. “Getting kids to do ream upon ream of pointless writing about books is one of the most effective ways of turning kids off reading at school. Some boys, especially, will resist reading if they're convinced that they will be asked to write a review at the end -¦ We can assess writing in far better and more helpful ways, and we can check for understanding of reading in more appropriate ways too.”

    Reading for Pleasure: A passport to everywhere is highly recommended to librarians, grade school educators and parents.
  4. -‹Research tells us that reading for pleasure can have more impact on a young person's educational outcome than even their family's relative wealth or social class; but in this age of screens and social media, how are teachers supposed to encourage it? In this brilliantly written guide, Kenny Pieper talks about his own experience of literature - how reading enabled him to become the first person in his family to go to university, and how he came to believe that fostering a love of books is his moral duty as an educator. He shares innovative and practical strategies to get young people talking and thinking about books, reading independently, developing their literacy skills and coming to think of reading as something to be shared and celebrated. His ideas don't demand unreasonable investment of your time and energy - but they could make a real difference.
  5. One of the biggest claims against pupils in contemporary society is that they don't read enough. They're always on computers and many just don't sit down and enjoy reading “like they used to in the good old days” are misguided claims often heard by commentators. Any teacher will know that there are some children in each classroom whose appetite for books is never quenched, whereas other pupils would rather do anything else apart from read - this is true of the children growing up in the 1960s as it is today. There are just too many external factors involved in whether we grow up enjoying a good book, or not.

    A secondary teacher based in Scotland, Kenny Pieper's clear love of reading shines through his Reading for Pleasure book. It is clear that he would like every person on the planet to share this passion, but the reality faced each day reveals that this is not achievable for every person. Pieper's response to this, as an English teacher, is (despite the pressures of the timetable) to allow his students ten minutes in each lesson to read. Read anything. By creating a reading environment where reading is expected, with all pupils respecting the time, space and opportunity within this ten minutes. This is how Kenny starts each lesson, and there should be no interruption of this ten minutes. It even means that the teacher just sits and reads a book for ten minutes, at the start of each lesson.

    Could this work for you, in your classroom, and with your busy timetable? Well, where there is a will, there is a way. Pieper offers us the tools and guidance in setting up this -˜ten-minute reading' system, and it is achievable within any school environment.

    The book progresses with positive discussions about how to use and create a library, whether it be large or small; implementing e-readers; talking about reading (including podcasting); boys and books; and developing a reading habit. Indeed, the final words of the book call for all school leaders, teachers and parents to “Let them read”. A love of books won't come to all, and it won't happen quickly, however allowing the time, space and permission to let children read is a virtue of which all classrooms should aspire towards.
  6. Pieper's book, Reading for Pleasure, happily, proved to be a great pleasure to read. He captures the complexity of reading: the private passions and the public (indeed political) power it can give to us all. His personal story and his love of reading shine luminously through each page.

    Reading for Pleasure is a clarion call to teachers, librarians, school leaders and even parents to make much of reading because it matters so much to the present and future lives of our children. This book is rich with evidence, pragmatic insights and practical strategies to enhance reading for pleasure. Read it for pleasure, then act upon it with purpose.
  7. Reading for Pleasure is a great antidote to some of the common problems surrounding reading in schools today. In the last twenty years, the world we live in has dramatically changed. When I was growing up in the 1980s, I could have easily read a whole book in the time it took a game to load on a computer. That was the Sinclair Spectrum for you! Today, students have instant access to games, films and other media. So, how do you get students to read books in the modern age? How do you get students reading in an age when you can have an instantly engaging experience at the click of a button? Thankfully, Kenny has some practical, easy-to-use and sensible remedies.

    The personal and anecdotal style of the books fits so well with the message here: reading is a personal experience. Each child, student, teenager, adult, teacher and reader has a different, unique reading experience and we often forget that when trying to engage students with reading. I found Kenny's own reading autobiography fascinating and, for me, it was interesting to see how his experience differed from my own. Yet both experiences produced avid readers, highlighting the fact that there is more than one way to make a reader for life. Furthermore, the book doesn't shy away from the difficult areas such as gender, class, politics, academic aspirations and the role and use of libraries in schools.

    Like a wise Gandalf for -˜hobbity' teachers, Kenny guides us through the pitfalls and over the sometimes overwhelmingly mountainous terrain of teenagers and their reading habits. This is the book that literacy coordinators, teachers and school leaders should read if they want to develop, foster and maintain a reading culture in their schools. One thing is for sure: Kenny sensibly stops us from become Gollums and obsessing over our -˜precious' book reviews.

    Reading for Pleasure was a pleasure to read.
  8. Reading is something that so many of us take for granted. We fail to consider those for whom it is a struggle or how reading lacks appeal after trying and failing to access the worlds and experiences that books are supposed to unlock. Kenny Pieper seeks to put us in the shoes of those who don't, or can't, rush into the library or bookshop to devour page after page of whatever or whoever is our latest literary obsession. He makes us consider the - often complex - ways that we could help these children to be as excited and comfortable with immersion in a book as others and, most likely, we are.

    Kenny's writing is gentle and encouraging, rather like how you feel his lessons would be to the reluctant reader, but the book is not without comment that is both educational and political. Kenny explores the crime of illiteracy and what this means for people's ability to engage with the world and the political landscape around them and looks at the methods and strategies employed in schools, both now and in the past, that may have put off exactly those people they were supposed to encourage.

    This is no bombastic ego-driven polemic designed to gain notoriety or attention for the writer but a genuine exploration of what it is that prevents young people from engaging with reading and, importantly, what we can do to help break down these barriers. Kenny offers ideas and suggestions but doesn't ram these down your throat or at any point suggest that he is the font of all knowledge, preferring instead to share what's worked for him and see if you might like to try it. Everything from reading programmes to e-readers is discussed fairly and carefully, with seventeen years of experience of both readers and the act of reading in mind, by someone who clearly holds the written word dear and wants to open up the beauty of it to all. 

    Kenny's blog is entitled -˜Just trying to be better than yesterday' and the humility of that title is also evident here in this book. It's a humility that many others in education could take a lesson from. In this case it's unnecessary - read this and take the ideas he suggests into your classrooms and your schools and we'll all be far, far better off than before.
  9. Kenny Pieper is the English teacher you wish you had. Wise, funny, quietly encouraging and patient, Kenny's prose makes for a comforting accompaniment into what is both a memoir and a call to arms. Bigging up reading's an easy win with teachers, but not so much with disgruntled Glaswegian teens. We could argue about whether the -˜for pleasure' part matters all that much - maybe the ability to read is more important than the desire to do so - and if there were a sure-fire formula for getting people to do things they didn't want to do then its discoverer would surely rule the world. But, if anyone can, Kenny can. This is a useful and, dare I say, pleasurable addition to any teacher's bookshelf.
  10. I read this in one sitting, derived a huge amount of pleasure from it and felt retrospectively proud that I had been a secondary English teacher for 30 years. I loved the interface between the personal and the professional - the (quite intimate at times) account of Kenny's own reading journey and the impact of this on his own professional practice as he has striven to inspire generations of readers over the years. He considers in particular the reluctant readers, often (though not exclusively) boys, who -˜sneer and smirk' as they attempt to avoid reading, while inside they -˜cringe and cry'.

    Kenny is impassioned about the importance of reading to enable people to take control of their lives. He sees the danger of illiteracy but also what Donalyn Miller calls -˜aliteracy' - kids who can read perfectly well but choose not to. He encourages us to forget bespoke reading periods and producing lengthy book reviews or pointless posters, and rather to focus on the power of a ten-minute block of reading at the start of each lesson and the importance of dialogue between the teacher and the individual about their developing reading tastes and habits.

    This book is a great combination of practical approaches to encourage a positive response to reading and strong, convincingly argued underlying principles outlining its importance. It contains a wealth of additional references for further exploration, should the reader wish to pursue them. It considers the huge value of libraries (and the threat they are currently under), the crucial need to find time for quiet reading for pleasure amidst the pressures teachers face, the role of the e-reader versus the -˜real' book, the importance of getting parents on side and of positive modelling of reading.

    Kenny shows how, with -˜time, patience and love', teachers may plant seeds which will flourish in the year to come. This is a book for all teachers - not just English teachers, and it is not just about fiction - and it powerfully communicates the central message that, -˜creating the environment for children to become readers who read, because they enjoy it and value it, must be the backbone of any education.' All teachers and trainee teachers, in all subject areas, whatever their level of experience, could benefit from reading it - and to do so will be a pleasure.
  11. Kenny cares for his students and the stories that they encounter. Passionate about the power of narrative, he guides us through a rich seam of strategies and ideas for developing the reading habit and deepening children's inner world. Surely, this book will speak to every English teacher's heart - the possibility of growing a love of reading that will last long after the school gates have slammed shut.
  12. I loved this book! I didn't agree with all of it, but even the small points where I didn't agree still stimulated my thinking and moved me forward. It is stimulating, interesting and very, very witty. I loved the -˜sweetcorn kids' and the description of the curriculum that has -˜more ticks than a mangy dog'. It is a real book written for real teachers and everyone who is a teacher should read it.

    Reading for Pleasure is packed with good ideas and suggestions, many of which I shall pass on to others with the recommendation that they read Kenny Pieper's book. Within 24 hours of reading it, I found myself quoting him in front of several hundred teachers. It is so refreshing to find a book written with such clarity by a practising teacher and this book reads as though Kenny is there, with his coffee, beside you in the staffroom, talking to you.
  13. A humorous and human take on both a personal and practical issue facing our young people today. Kenny is able to articulate the problem of our -˜sweetcorn kids' with his impassioned take on things, offering interesting and engaging approaches to challenge the issue. Supported by a wealth of experience and his own very personal journey to becoming a reader, he lays the foundations for a future generation of pupils to engage with their world. Viva la reading revolution! 
  14. Kenny Pieper - a -˜bedraggled, wilting, full-time teacher of English' - provides us with smart, informed and easily achievable solutions to promote a genuine culture of reading for pleasure in our classrooms and schools. This short book enlightens us to the author's own journey through reading, from Roy of the Rovers to Bukowski and articulately explains why reading can, -˜help to create a generation of kids who will be able to tell when they're being shafted.' Kenny eloquently denounces approaches commonly used in schools such as the horror of the book review, Accelerated Reader projects, reading periods and the insistence on staff dressing up as characters from literature on World Book Day! Instead, Mr P encourages teachers to become involved with their students' reading (even the -˜sweetcorn kids') by being, -˜by their sides when they encounter confusion or want to share their excitement or laughter at the funny bits. They want us to do that. Too often we don't.'

    A blistering, honest, thought-provoking and funny read. Only Kenny could write about something so important yet still manage to reminisce about the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Bill Hicks and Debbie Harry along the way and even equate the Greek philosophers to the Godfather actors! I can't recommend this book highly enough.

Write your own review