How to encourage young children to read at your school

Published on: 02 May 2022 Author: Promote Your School

Reading is magic! It gives us the chance to escape ordinary life and enter a world where anything is possible. We know that children who read for pleasure are healthier, happier and do better at school. So, why is it so difficult to get young children to read?

The inspiring school library at Merry Hill Infant School and Nursery, designed by Promote Your School

'Young children have notoriously short attention spans and might not have the desire to read if they don’t think it will be fun or interesting. Some may not have plentiful reading opportunities at home. As a result, many lose out on the life-changing magic of reading.' - Lisa Savage, Director at Promote Your School.

Many schools are realising now that there are loads of ways to cultivate a keen interest in reading.

Here, we’ll find out how Merry Hill Infant School and Nursery have used their school’s walls to encourage young children to read.

Fuel curiosity and imagination

Something magical has happened at Merry Hill Infant School and Nursery…

Pupils now have the opportunity to enter an immersive space that’s dedicated to reading. The school worked with Promote Your School to create an inspiring library for pupils. Wall Art designs were created bespoke to the school’s requirements and have transformed the space into a world of awe and wonder.

Melissa Adams, Headteacher at Merry Hill Infant School and Nursery, explains:

'We were keen to create an immersive reading space, so we worked with Promote Your School to transform the walls of the library.
'The imagery is stunning and fuels each pupil’s natural curiosity and imagination. They love discovering little gems hidden within the designs and discussing the characters with their friends. It’s become a space they all want to visit.
'We’re delighted to see so many of our pupils taking an interest in reading!'

There’s an air of mystery in the designs by Promote Your School

Once a child is immersed in a gripping story, their imaginations can run wild.

Children’s books are written with their young audience in mind, so the characters tend to be based on fantasy and imagination.

You can introduce young children to these characters and themes visually, through rich and exciting images. In the case of Merry Hill, the school wanted their Wall Art to reflect the magical, fantasy worlds represented by the wide and diverse range of books on offer in their library.

The idea was that, if children saw these magical worlds depicted in front of them, they would be more likely to gravitate towards the reading area. Once there, they’d likely pick up a book and enjoy looking at the pictures or learning about the story.

Ms Adams says that the library Wall Art has certainly fuelled her pupils’ imaginations. 'Pupils want to reach out and touch the pictures and find out more about each character. This has provided a natural pathway to the books we have on offer and we’ve seen more interest in reading as a result.'

A magical world of awe and wonder at Merry Hill Infant School and Nursery

Vocabulary and conversation

One of the best ways to encourage young children to read is to get them talking about it. At Merry Hill, this was achieved through the clever use of images within their library Wall Art.

Characters are hidden within the graphics and designed to look interesting, unusual and mysterious. A child will need to look closely to discover Rapunzel in her tower, Little Red Riding Hood’s cloak or Pinocchio grinning in the background.

Ms Adams says that this use of imagery has fuelled great conversation among pupils. 'Even the younger learners are chatting about the artwork with their friends, discovering characters together and speculating about what each character might be doing.'

  • Which book is the tortoise reading?
  • What’s the superhero’s super power?
  • Who’s inside the magical pumpkin carriage?
  • What’s the dragon dreaming about?
  • What are the people on the balcony in the castle doing?

Once conversation starts flowing, children are naturally curious and eager to learn more. This provides a natural introduction to the books on offer at the library.

A calm space for escapism

It sounds obvious, but if we want to encourage young children to read, we need to create the right environment for them.

This means a warm and welcoming area, with good lighting, comfortable seating and minimal noise. If you can create an environment in which children feel safe and comfortable, they’re more likely to visit your school library area.

For children who struggle with their mental health, issues at home or learning challenges, reading can serve as a refuge. If your school library or reading area is calm and inviting, children will seek it out and spend time there by choice.

Designing library Wall Art - the process

Promote Your School worked closely with the team at Merry Hill Infant School and Nursery to bring their vision to life:

  • Initially, they visited Merry Hill to discuss their goals for the project
  • From there, the team guided them through the design process to ensure they were 100 per cent happy with the artwork before it went to print
  • Finally, the "tadaa moment" as the library Wall Art was installed, bookcases were stocked, and cushions were added to seating for extra comfort.

Promote Your School is an education design agency with over 20 years’ experience and a proud supporter of the Pyjamarama campaign. If you would like to win bespoke Wall Art for your school or nursery, please register to take part in Pyjamarama.

Register your interest for Pyjamarama 2024

Want a fun way to get children excited about reading? Join Pyjamarama in 2024, when children can spend the day in their pyjamas, reading and sharing stories and raising money for BookTrust.

Find out more