I was thrilled to be asked recently to speak at this year's Literacy Conference in September. So as I prepare, I thought I would share with you some of my research and findings ahead of the event. The title of my session is "Encouraging Children to Read for Pleasure – the Catalyst for Creativity".
This is a subject very dear to my heart, not only in terms of helping children to develop a love of reading, but also for us to nurture their creativity.
It is widely accepted that reading is important (see my previous blogs) but why is reading for pleasure so important? In other words, why is it important for a child to pick up a book or any written material and start to read of their own free will? Bruner (1996) observes that reading for pleasure is linked with literacy related benefits, better decision making, understanding of human nature. It 'has real educational and social consequences,’ (Literacy Trust) and not least, it's part of the National Curriculum.
As the Reading Association (Moore et al., 1999,) states '… they will need literacy to feed their imaginations so they can create the world of the future' and it is this world of the future that I believe is so important. When the current education system in the UK was created, the driving force was around providing a structure to equip the next generation with the skills needed in industry. This makes sense to me, but leaves us with a question - what skills do we need our children to develop in this day and age, to equip them to 'create the world of the future' as this looks very different today than it did even ten years ago.
In 2010, IBM reported in their Global CEO Study that creativity was selected as the most crucial factor for future success. It is a critical skill that we need for the advancement of medicine, science, industry etc. And as Brené Brown observes, ‘the only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity.’
So if creativity is the critical skill for our children to have for their future, what can we do to encourage and nurture this skill to enable them to flourish? Before we explore this however, we need to understand more fully what is meant by 'creativity' and in particular, what does creativity in the workplace actually look like.
I look forward to sharing my findings with you on these two critical questions over the next couple of months. If you would like to contact me or to find out more about the work I do with schools and my children's books, please visit my website www.haroldhuxley.co.uk