IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Virtual event: What if… we wanted all children to read for pleasure?

19 January 2021, 5:45 pm–6:45 pm

IOE Debates on reading for pleasure

Do we gain something in particular from reading fiction as well as non-fiction? And what about the role of digital technology, including audiobooks, in our reading habits?  

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Kate Thomas

Watch the debate

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFlTHrGuZGY



Children have always been encouraged to read widely in order to progress their learning and development.

The benefits are many and varied, from growing imagination, creativity, empathy, and humanity, through to building knowledge as well as comprehension skills and vocabulary, and sound grammar and punctuation. Getting lost in a book can also support our wellbeing and mental health, especially in difficult times.

Yet, not all children – or adults – regularly find time to read for the sake of it. This is particularly so among boys.

From the teaching of early literacy to access to public libraries, what lies behind this ‘reading deficit’ and what should be done to get more children reaching for a book?

We’ve asked researchers and authors to give us their take on what makes a book worm and answer your questions.


  • Joseph Coelho, multi-award-winning children’s author and poet.
  • Charlotte Hacking, Learning Programmes Leader at children's charity the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education.
  • Gemma Moss, Professor of Literacy and Director of the International Literacy Centre, IOE.
  • Alice Sullivan, Professor of Sociology, and Head of Research at the Social Research Institute, IOE.
  • Chair: Dominic Wyse, Professor of Early Childhood and Primary Education, IOE.

Find out more about the speakers of this debate. Join the conversation on Twitter at #IOEDebates


In association with TES