Thursday, 19 December 2013

My final reading round-up of 2013

I’m busy planning inset days on reading for early January, and have been looking in depth at the new curriculum for England. I’m certainly not a fan of everything in it, but I definitely like the emphasis on reading for enjoyment and on reading across the curriculum. (It’s no coincidence that I’ve had two literacy-related enquiries from maths teachers in the last couple of weeks – great to hear of maths departments taking support for reading so seriously.) I am relieved that comprehension is given equal weighting to word reading – just this morning a literacy coordinator told me of year 6 pupils who can decode without problems, but simply don’t get the meaning. It’s good that teachers are strongly urged to read whole books to children, and that promoting wider reading is heavily stressed. This surprisingly poetic sentence especially pleases me: ‘Reading feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.’ UKLA has produced a very useful review and planning tool for the new curriculum for English.

Ofsted’s 2012/13 Schools Annual Report states that pupils don’t receive enough encouragement to read widely for pleasure, and that time needs to be made for the reading, sharing, recommending and discussion of texts. This is a particularly interesting statement, coming from Ofsted: ‘Schools can be distracted by national tests and examinations, which do not always assess pupils’ wider reading skills well.’ Ofsted also says older students need to see the practical benefits of reading, as something that affects their daily lives.

Lots of ideas for on reading promotion in this Guardian article.

The Kids Lit Quiz is a lovely way to build up excitement around reading. I felt very lucky to attend the UK final two weeks ago. My picture doesn’t adequately show the buzz in the room.

Great to see an article about DEAR (Drop Everything And Read), an excellent scheme, though I certainly disagree with the authors’ assertion that good school libraries are not a necessity.

I’m sure all readers of my blog are fully aware of the crucial importance of school librarians for reading promotion and lots more. Author Linda Strachan here makes a passionate case for them in response to Edinburgh Council’s discussions on cutting the number.

I enjoyed reading about this bedtime reading event.

Beanstalk volunteers work wonders with children’s reading. Crucially, they give lots of choice of reading materials. A volunteer at a workshop I gave this week told us about the dramatic change the Minecraft Annual made to one boy’s attitudes to reading.

This is an interesting piece by Marcus and Julian Sedgwick on graphic novels: why and how to read them and where to start.

Finally, Michael Morpurgo is the new president of Booktrust.