I always love giving courses on reading in the early years – it is such an exciting issue. It was great to provide training recently to a fantastic group of early years practitioners from very diverse settings. There was lots of excellent discussion about ways to engender a love of books and reading in very young children. As ever, I included a hands-on session during the day in which small groups each explored a varied selection of picture books and debated ideas for exploiting them. I was delighted that everyone came across books that were new to them, and that as a result of their discussions they all went away armed with new ideas for using both those and old favourites. I was also fascinated, as I often have been before, by the passions that some of the books evoked, positive in most cases, but not in all. One group adored Ernest by Catherine Rayner, one of my favourite author/illustrators, while another hated Augustus and his Smile (which I especially love), a reminder for everyone that to enthuse children about books, we must use ones that we enjoy ourselves.
The course brought back to my mind a couple of articles that the Pre-School Learning Alliance commissioned me to write a few years back. I have now updated them and put them on my website for anyone who is interested. The first, Making reading fun for pre-school children, is for parents and carers of pre-school children, the second, Laying the foundations of reading, is for early years practitioners.