'They’re not taking much time off': More than half of teachers reading books about education over summer

A Tes poll reveals that teachers' summer holiday reading also includes thrillers by authors such as James Patterson and Lee Child

Adi Bloom

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More than half of teachers will be reading books about education during the summer holiday. Almost two-thirds will be reading books related to their subject.

A snap poll by Tes reveals that some teachers clearly have an idiosyncratic definition of poolside reading. Fifty-five per cent those who responded said they would be taking education-related books with them on holiday this year. Sixty per cent will be reading books related to their subject.

“Wow,” says Gemma Moss, director of the International Literacy Centre at the UCL Institute of Education. “I’m deeply impressed. They’re not taking much time off.”


However, many teachers are forgoing the appeal of page-turners such as The A-Level Mindset, instead planning to unwind with a novel. The most popular genre by far – accounting for a quarter of the vote – is thriller-mystery, with several teachers naming Lee Child and James Patterson as their sun-lounger authors of choice.

The second most popular genre, named by nearly one in five teachers, is literary fiction. Awards have clearly had an influence on choices here: Naomi Alderman’s Baileys prize-winning novel, The Power, is on a large number of teachers’ holiday reading lists, as is The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, named book of the year by bookseller Waterstones.

Of the 267 teachers surveyed, 18.5 per cent are opting for historical non-fiction, with titles including This is London by Ben Judah and A History of the World by Andrew Marr.

Historical fiction (16 per cent) and romance (12 per cent) are also popular among those surveyed, with sci-fi lagging behind (8 per cent). Even fewer are interested in short stories (4 per cent), poetry (3 per cent) and horror fiction (3 per cent).

Sluttish readers

The 9 per cent who have said that they are reading other types of fiction include those who are keeping up with the latest children’s and young-adult novels.

“I find it really encouraging that people are reading for relaxation and recreation,” says Mick Connell, of the National Association for the Teaching of English. “It reflects what we actually do as enthusiastic readers – we’re sluttish, aren’t we? We engage with anything in front of us.

“We don’t always have to be reading stuff that tests us, or stretches us, or improves us. There are times when we just want to be wrapped up in a story.”

This is an edited article from the 11 August edition of Tes. Subscribers can read the full article hereTo subscribe, click hereThis week's Tes magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

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Adi Bloom

Adi Bloom is Tes comment editor

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