The Rights of the Reader - Empowering bookworms and bibliophiles

In the lead-up to Booktober, I’ve been talking to students about reading and having them write down what they think. Here’s what they’ve shared with me:


I love reading when...

I get to read the book I love

I can read with my BFF

No one asks me questions

I learn something

I read with my family and friends

I get to choose what to read

The story is interesting and has nice pictures

There are pictures on every page

I can get cosy and read

I can read books I like

It is quiet

It is comfortable

I can read in my language

The book is fun


Reading isn’t fun when...

I can’t read the book that I want to read

The book is boring

I have to write a review about it

It’s required

It’s too noisy

I am forced to read something I do not want to read

I am told I have to read for a certain amount of time

I don’t know how to do it because the book is too hard

I am not allowed to read the book I want to read.


I started to collect these responses together from our students to create a THS Library Reading Charter, but then I found  “The Rights of the Reader” by Daniel Pennac, illustrated as a beautiful poster by Quentin Blake. It matches perfectly with what our students are saying:

Readers rights:

The right not to read

The right to skip

The right to finish a book

The right to read it again

The right to read anything

The right to mistake a book for real life

The right to read anywhere

The right to dip in

The right to read out loud

The right to be quiet


The poster lists these ten rights but also one warning:

Don’t make fun of people who don’t read - or they never will.


I’m printing out this poster and hanging it up in the school libraries as a reminder that children, like all readers, have the right to choose when, what, where, and how they read.  


Advertise reading

During Booktober, our focus is on making reading fun, creating a love of books and reading, and creating an environment where reading is everywhere. There will be books all around school, exciting places to read, fun activities to do, art and construction and mathematics related to books teachers read to students, video challenges related to books, reading as a service activity, music and dancing, writing, and books in many languages.  


Product advertising can be compelling and is often very effective. This Booktober at THS, let’s think of “selling” reading at home by actively “advertising”it.  So what do I mean by “advertising reading”?

  • Let your children see you read.  

  • Talk about your favourite books and the books you loved as a child.

  • Take your child to the public library and borrow one of your favourite childhood books to read to or with them.

  • If your children have not seen you read in a while, make a point of buying or borrowing a book and reading it in front of them.  

  • Read to your children, even if they are old enough to read by themselves.


You will be amazed what a difference it makes to children when they see reading ‘advertised’ in this way.   If we want our children to be interested in reading, we have to show them that it’s an important part of our lives too.


The Booktober Committee and I hope you join us by having your child participate in the suggested Booktober home activities, which you’ll be receiving information about soon. Let’s all sell reading this month (and every month!).  


Hip-Hip-Hooray, Booktober’s on Its Way!


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