'Involving the school community in special events to raise the profile of reading and engage children.'
Celebrating Reading is about engaging children and creating a buzz about reading, not just through special events, but by promoting reading every day, making sure books are always on the agenda.
Celebrating Reading is about putting reading at the core of school life. This might happen in classrooms through the teacher reading an exciting book aloud, or children swapping their latest recommendations. It might be in assemblies with author visits or whole-school reading competitions. It might be schools using their website or weekly newsletter to alert families to an event at the local library, or it might be dressing up as favourite a book character for the day.
Celebrating Reading is about creating a sense of magic- on the one hand teaching everyone to read- but also making reading so exciting that children can’t help but want to pick up a book.
One School's Story- St. Augustine's Catholic Primary School, Coventry
St. Augustine's School uses a range of initiatives to help children develop a love of reading. They include:
'Reading Rocks' Club- An after school club targeted at children who might not normally be taken to the library, or might not get the chance to read at home. The club starts with squash and a biscuit, followed by some time to 'mooch' around the library or listen to a story. Everyone in the club gets a VIP badge. Perhaps it's the biscuits, perhaps it's the books, but children are desperate to join in!
Teachers' Reads- All teachers display the book they are reading on their classroom doors so the whole school can see.
Designated library time- Every child in KS2 has time in the library with the Leader of Reading each week to read, browse, ask for advice, change their book, or to take in the new reading displays. Library displays are changed every two weeks to promote different books- 'Do you like Wimpy Kid? Then you'll love...' or 'Want to walk like an Egyptian? These books will show you how!'
One School's Story- Dunkirk Primary School, Nottingham
At Dunkirk Primary School, Literacy Coordinator Alice Elsmore cites the school’s Book Club initiative as a crucial ingredient in the success of developing a culture of reading for pleasure. At the start of Year 1, each child receives an individual savings book that they use to build up a small pot of money. Books are sourced through suppliers such as The Book People, and typically cost between 70p and £1.20. Located in the library, the Book Club showcases a wide range of reading material and allows children the opportunity to buy their own books and build up a personal library at home.
Book Club Advocates are appointed to champion the benefits of the Book Club and special assemblies focus on promoting it. The impact of this club, in terms of children getting excited, wanting to read, choosing what they are going to read, talking about what they’re reading, going home and telling parents about their new book, is immense.
One School's Story- St George's C of E School, Battersea
St George’s serves an area of very high deprivation. The school does organise some special events, but the school finds that dressing-up days can exclude children who don’t get the support from home. Reading competitions can motivate children to read, but on the whole, the school finds it more effective to engage children as whole classes through teacher enthusiasm, and through responding directly to their interests. For example, at an assembly at the start of term the Head will ask a teacher to share details of whatever book she most enjoyed reading during the holidays. Equally, children are encouraged to express their own enthusiasms. English Subject Leader Samantha Limon says, 'It’s wonderful if the children feel they can come to you and say, ‘Can we have this book in school?’ As they progress through the school, children start to share their own writing by reading it out to other year groups. They start to think of themselves as authors and this is tremendously motivating for them.'