Reading Science for Pleasure: SLA Guideline

Reading Science for Pleasure: SLA Guideline

Reading Science for Pleasure: Guideline


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While some associate 'reading for pleasure' with reading fiction, school library staff are well aware that many children enjoy non-fiction and eagerly engage with books about sport, celebrities, world records and the like. But what about science? Present-day science information books are often very appealing, well-written and attractively illustrated. They have the power not only to extend young readers' knowledge but also to excite their interest and imagination.


In this publication Ruth Jarman and Joy Alexander draw on their experience of working with school library staff, teachers and TAs to offer guidelines for exposing children and young people to science books and encouraging them to read them for pleasure, using the school library as a base. They present a wealth of tried and tested ideas designed to help young readers uncover the knowledge, wonder and adventures contained in these books and, perhaps, to feed their curiosity and cultivate new interests while broadening their reading horizons and their identity as a reader.


With a foreword by Andy Seed, this book is sure to boost the engagement with science books in your school library.

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Ruth Jarman and Joy Alexander
Ruth Jarman taught science for a number of years in secondary schools in Northern Ireland. Early in her teaching career she developed a keen interest in the relationship between science and literacy and this passion remains. In 1989 she was appointed lecturer in science education at Queen's University, Belfast where, in addition to teaching and supervising students, she had the privilege of pursuing this interest through research and development projects. Most recently, with her colleague Dr Joy Alexander, she has been exploring strategies for encouraging children and young people to read science books for pleasure. Ruth has spoken about this at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (an experience which she enjoyed immensely!) and at educational conferences and has published more broadly on the theme of science and literacy. Though now retired and an honorary lecturer, she maintains her enthusiasm for promoting 'reading science for pleasure'.  
Joy Alexander is an honorary lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen’s University, Belfast. Her career has fallen into two related halves of about twenty years each: as a post-primary English teacher in N Ireland, Scotland and the US, and then as a lecturer in education at QUB with responsibility for training English teachers. She was Head of English for ten years in a school where the public community library served as the school library during school hours. Children’s literature has been a source of both professional interest and personal enjoyment, while she developed a research interest in synergies between English and science education. These interests have combined in her collaboration with Dr Ruth Jarman in promoting the pleasures of reading science books to young people.    

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