Rights of the Reader

rights 1

Having read this book approximately 3 years ago, and finding it full of useful ways to coax reluctant readers back, I displayed the poster of ‘the rights of the reader’ in the school library.

I have had a number of conversations with members of my book groups, junior librarians and regular library users regarding the ten different ‘rights’, which are;

1. The right not to read
2. The right to skip
3. The right not to finish a book
4. The right to read it again
5. The right to read anything
6. The right to mistake a book for real life
7. The right to read anywhere
8. The right to dip in
9. The right to read out loud
10. The right to be quiet

The children, who have noticed the poster,  have mainly picked up on point 3 the right not to finish a book  , with comments like, ‘we have to finish a book’, ‘we’re not aloud to leave a book unfinished’, ‘we’d get told off if we didn’t finish it’. When I quizzed them further they referred to the school reading scheme books and having to finish all the books before being allowed to move up a level; which is a whole other discussion.  I can’t think of anything that would put me off more than trudging through a book which I really wasn’t enjoying.

I regularly have conversations with children who are returning books to gauge opinion, check out the popular genres etc., some children do return a book sheepishly saying they haven’t finished the book because it was too hard, they weren’t enjoying it or couldn’t get into the story; my reply is always something along the lines of ‘well let’s see if we can find something you will enjoy’. This usually strikes up a conversation around their likes/dislikes but in 9 times out of ten they leave with a book they are happy with.  Just being given the freedom of choosing and trying, without the pressure, reaps benefits.

It’s not just about getting children to read it’s about children choosing to read; if by using this list it prevents children being ‘put-off’ then every classroom should display a copy of the poster, after the teacher has read the book of course!

A link to the ‘rights of the reader’ poster –  http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/Connections_72_poster.pdf

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