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Issues in Educational Research, 2022, Vol 32(1), 89-104.
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Teachers' perceptions of the benefits and challenges of a whole-school reading for pleasure program

Vanessa J. Collins, Isaac W. Dargan, Rosalind L. Walsh
Queenwood School, Australia

Margaret K. Merga
University of Newcastle, Australia

A whole school (K-12) Reading for Pleasure program was implemented at an independent girls' school in Sydney, Australia. This paper reports on the results of a teacher survey conducted one year into the implementation of the program. Qualitative data were collected from 105 teachers on the perceived benefits and challenges of the program. Teachers were overwhelmingly positive about the benefits, which included increased skill development, not only in literacy, but also in learning dispositions and 21st century skills, such as creativity and imagination. Other benefits included student engagement and wellbeing. Teachers identified challenges with implementing the program, including student disengagement, and organisational and structural concerns. Advice for implementing a whole school RfP program is given based on the experiences of the Project team and results of the survey.
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Authors: Vanessa Collins is the Junior School Curriculum Coordinator at Queenwood Junior School, an independent girls' school on Sydney's Lower North Shore. She is highly experienced in curriculum implementation and is passionate about program design to support student engagement. Vanessa leads professional development initiatives in teaching, learning, assessment and reporting. She has extensive knowledge around data analysis to inform classroom practice. Vanessa is an advocate for literacy and the benefits of reading for pleasure.
Email: Vanessa.Collins@queenwood.nsw.edu.au

Isaac Dargan currently teaches Year 3 at Queenwood Junior School. Previously, he has taught at schools in London and the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. For the past 3 years, Isaac has been a member of the QLiteracy Committee at Queenwood and one of their greatest achievements has been establishing the Just Read project. Isaac is passionate about improving students' literacy skills and one way to achieve this is through sustained silent reading.
Email: Isaac.Dargan@queenwood.nsw.edu.au

Dr Rosalind Walsh (corresponding author) completed a PhD examining gifted children's responses to higher order questioning during story book reading at Macquarie University and was awarded the Vice Chancellor's Award for Research Excellence, as well as the Australasian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented's John Geake Outstanding Thesis Award. She was the coordinator of gifted students (K-12) at Queenwood School from 2017-2021.
Email: lindywalsh@gmail.com

Dr Margaret Merga is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Newcastle. She has conducted research in literacy, libraries, higher education and wellbeing. She has been involved in recent projects related to the role of teacher librarians in fostering literacy in schools, supporting struggling literacy learners, libraries and student wellbeing, early career researchers' experiences of producing diverse research outputs, representation and use of metrics in higher education, and handwriting and keyboarding skills in young children.
Email: margaret.merga@newcastle.edu.au

Please cite as: Collins, V. J., Dargan, I. W., Walsh, R. L. & Merga, M. K. (2022). Teachers' perceptions of the benefits and challenges of a whole-school reading for pleasure program. Issues in Educational Research, 32(1), 89-104. http://www.iier.org.au/iier32/collins.pdf

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Created 7 March 2022. Last correction: 7 March 2022. Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]