Thursday, 8 March 2012

The school library supporting reading

I love giving training on children’s reading and on effective children’s and school libraries, so I really enjoyed giving a course at Heath Educational Books yesterday on supporting reading through the primary school library. What a fantastic group of delegates! There were lots of excellent group and plenary discussions about ways to use the library to change the culture of reading in the school. We talked about selecting books and good ideas for arranging, displaying and exploiting them, and it was great to be surrounded by thousands of books in the Heath Books showroom. We had an interesting debate about the value of comics, newspapers and magazines in the library, and particularly about how schools can use materials like these as launch pads to wider reading. I think the most powerful parts of the day were when we focused on methods for making the library a key player in the life of the school, promoting reading skills and reading enjoyment, and indeed broader learning, throughout the school and across the whole curriculum. There was loads of good practice shared, and masses of busy scribbling. The photos I showed of school libraries and reading promotions in them provoked fascinating discussions about how to make the library welcoming, attractive and effective even when finances are stretched very tight. (I took the photo here on the fabulous launch day for the new library at Chadwell Primary School.)

Yesterday’s course was over-subscribed, so we are repeating it on 24 May. For anyone for whom Sutton is not viable, I am also delivering a primary school library course at the National Centre for Language and Literacy in Reading on 13 June.

My course on promoting reading through the secondary school library at Heath Books on 21 March is fully booked, but an extra date for this will be confirmed very shortly.