Thursday, 28 November 2013

Great reading promotion ideas for the classroom, the library and beyond

This has been a very busy period, with fascinating conferences and courses on making reading enjoyable. These are some of the wonderful strategies shared by teachers and school librarians. Many thanks to lots of great delegates.

DEAR, drop everything and read, is extremely effective in many schools. The key to success is that all the staff read, including mealtime and site supervisors and office staff, not just the pupils. This week teachers at two primary schools described how several times a year everyone brings in a cushion from home, so that they can sit comfortably, plus whatever reading material they like, which of course makes it especially attractive, with lots of comics, magazines and Argos catalogues in evidence. What a fantastic idea.

During the Olympics, one teacher asked her class to bring in cuttings about the games from newspapers, magazines or anything else to make into a scrapbook. It was an extremely popular activity, and the children still jostle for the chance to read it. She is working out what new event to celebrate in the same way.

I’ve heard some excellent reading group ideas. Instead of a dads and lads group, one school targets all male family members with their FUDGE group – fathers, uncles, dads, grandfathers etc. What about a cross-curricular group? One librarian has plans for activities like recipe reading followed by cookery in the food technology area.

Ofsted and the new curriculum for England rightly stress the importance of literacy in all areas of the curriculum. I’d love to have seen the horses made by KS3 students in DT, while they were reading War Horse in English. At a conference I was addressing in Northern Ireland an inspired PE teacher/literacy coordinator talked about taking books into a swimming lesson. Amazing! Threatened with dire consequences if any of the books got damaged, the students held them above water and read voraciously.

This sounds great: an English teacher divides his students into groups, and gives each a different chapter of the current set text to make into a short radio play, with music, sound effects and so on.

I’m very intrigued by the notion of a Tardis in a library. I must get hold of a photo. The picture here shows a fraction of the bunting festooned all round King’s School Worcester on World Book Day. Each flag is a book recommended by a student or teacher. Brilliant. The librarian’s new plan is for a pets reading competition, on the lines of an extreme reading challenge, with photos from students and staff.