Tag archives: reading for pleasure

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Coopers Lane School tube carriage library

interiorWhat a lovely afternoon I had on Friday: a visit to Coopers Lane Primary School in Lewisham to see their fabulous tube carriage library, and talk to headteacher Paul Hooper about its inception and use. The story started with a vote by the children in the school to call their classrooms after tube stations. That led to a wild idea to get a tube carriage into the playground and to make it into a library. The old one had to make way for a classroom when the school expanded. Many conversations and lots of work by lots of people later the dream became a reality. You can watch the installation and hear more about the project here.

This is a school that places huge emphasis on instilling a love of learning and that sees reading for pleasure as a vital part of this. The library is a manifestation of their educational priorities. It takes pride of place in the playground, and the children flock to it during playtimes. There are loads of carefully chosen books for them to read, and they love playing in the driver’s cab.
exterior with ticket officeThe library is also used very imaginatively to support learning across the curriculum, for example when the year 6 children explored evacuation during World War 2 they boarded the train as evacuees. The Reading Dream Team – such a great name – pair up with children in need of support to enjoy books together in the library. The children have written their own Poems on the Underground, some of which were read at the library opening ceremony. They are also going to appear on the underground network, an incredible accolade.

It’s not only the children who like reading in the library. I was very pleased to introduce Paul to a new favourite book of mine, Dog on a Train by Kate Prendergast, a wonderful wordless story which features tubes and tube stations.

Paul Hooper & First News

Many thanks to Paul and the school for a very heartening end to my week.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Children’s and young people’s reading – latest research and articles

Time for one of my regular round-ups of reading news. But first a wonderful quote from out-going US President Barack Obama: ‘Reading is important. If you know how to read, then the whole world opens up to you.’

reading-breakfast-summer-lane-primary-school-2

The Education Endowment Foundation has found that primary school breakfast clubs boost reading, writing and maths. Thank you to Summer Lane Primary School for the photo of one of their very successful family reading breakfasts.

Read On Get On has published an important strategy, aimed at improving literacy through focusing on reading enjoyment.

Booktrust Chief Executive Diana Gerald believes passionately in reading for pleasure and and in an article about its value argues strongly for children reading what they like. Joy Ballard makes a similar case in ‘Let the teens read Mills and Boon!’ Katie Ashford of Michaela School takes a very different view in ‘Easy books aren’t the route to a lifelong love of reading’. Do read the comment stream beneath this controversial piece.

New research shows that there are lots of girls struggling with reading. The big concern is comprehension.

Secondary school teachers, librarians, students and parents will find lots of ideas for inspiring reading an innovative booklist created by the librarians at Elmgreen School.

Teacher Jesse Buetow’s piece on using technology to inspire independent readers explores the value of student-created book ‘commercials’.

A recent study found interesting differences between reading paper books and screen reading with young children.

It’s well worth listening to this Radio 4 piece on children and ebooks, particularly Julia Eccelshare’s input.

To end, another great quote from Obama: ‘Reading is the gateway skill that makes all other learning possible.’

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Children’s and young people’s reading – a round-up of recent news and articles

dream jarsI loved the BFG dream jars that sprung up over London during the holidays, and it was great watching children and families swarming round them. A lovely celebration of Roald Dahl and of books and reading.

It’s not only a new school year, but also Read a Book Day, so definitely a good time to catch up on reading news and articles from the last couple of months.

Anyone with an interest in reading knows it has all sorts of advantages. Perhaps the most intriguing recent finding is that people who read books live longer lives.

The right way to bribe your kids to read – a deliberately provocative title – looks at the best ways for parents to support children’s reading. As the author says, extrinsic motivation doesn’t necessarily lead to an intrinsic desire to read. Lovely that taking children to the library, being a reading role model, talking to children about books and having lots of books at home are more effective than cash.

The merits of reading real books to your children explores the value of sharing books with children, particularly the benefits of paper books over digital ones.

Tough times out there? Here’s why reading with your kids is more important now than ever is useful and illuminating. Reading to children supports empathy and understanding as well as their overall development.

I liked this article on the importance of rare words for children’s learning and literacy, and why reading books helps.

The NUT reading for pleasure site has been revamped and has lots of practical tips and ideas.

Very good to see a focus on whole school literacy and on importance of school library in How to create a positive reading culture in your school from the TES.

Seven top tips for getting students reading by school librarian Joel Crowley is valuable too. Sharing your enthusiasm is quite rightly number one.

It’s worth reading the Learning Spy, aka David Didau’s new blog post 5 things every new (secondary) teacher should know about reading.

The problem with female protagonists is a very interesting article on the need for, and the insufficient numbers of, fictional female role-models for everyone.

New research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation includes disturbing data about young adults’ literacy. England is the only country in the OECD where the average literacy score for the youngest age group (16-18 years old) is lower than that of the oldest age group (55 to 65 years old).

A TES article by Joe Nutt about YA fiction caused a huge furore over the summer. Juno Dawson wrote a powerful rebuttal. There was a Today programme discussion between Joe Nutt and Francesca Simon (2 hours 18 minutes in). YA author Julie Mayhew has also written a valuable response to original article. And this is a powerful riposte from a 16 year-old student.

Finally, a warming story about Doorstep Library, which takes books and reading to disadvantaged children.

 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Children’s reading news – a summer update

reading mugs
Another round-up of recent reading news and articles, illustrated by my lovely reading related mugs, all given to me by my equally reading besotted daughter.

An important new study on teaching reading through synthetic phonics has found that this helps children from poor backgrounds and EAL children, but has no long-term benefits for the average child.

More new research tells us that boys who live with books earn more as adults.

Since my last blog on reading the National Literacy Trust has published its annual report on children and young people’s reading.  Reading enjoyment is going up, but the gulf between enjoyment at primary and secondary levels is sadly growing, as is that between boys and girls. In his foreword Director Jonathan Douglas points out the clear correlation between attainment and reading enjoyment, frequency and attitudes. ‘The more that can be done to develop and sustain children’s intrinsic motivation to read throughout their school journey, the more success they will enjoy both academically and in future life.’

Author Nicola Morgan has created a list of the benefits of reading for pleasure.

If you can’t imagine things, how can you learn? is fascinating. Significant numbers of people cannot conjure up mental images, and this impacts, among other things, on their ability to learn to read, on comprehension, on retaining and recalling information and on grasping abstract concepts.

A report about the age at which children start formal education identifies some key issues in relation to literacy. New Zealand research shows that the early introduction of formal learning approaches to literacy does not improve children’s reading development, and may be damaging. ‘By 11 there was no difference in reading ability level between the two groups, but the children who started at 5 developed less positive attitudes to reading, and showed poorer text comprehension than those children who had started later.’ A separate study of reading achievement in 15 year olds across 55 countries showed that there was no significant association between reading achievement and school entry age.

It’s worth reading a head of English on the importance of schools making time for reading. ‘Schools being all about education, you’d think reading would be at the centre of the curriculum and school life. Wrong’ says Dr Kornel Kossuth.

Those interested in literacy across the curriculum may be interested in this article on literacy’s role in boosting maths outcomes.

It’s always good to hear young people’s perspectives on reading. I found Why teenagers are resistant to e-readers extremely interesting.

That article, along with many I’ve quoted in blogs about children reading, was published on the Guardian children’s books website. It’s always been a source of invaluable information and inspiration. Sad news indeed that it’s closing.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Children’s and teenagers’ reading: recent news and views

monkey readingI love this picture from a museum in Orvieto in Italy. A great illustration for my latest round-up of reading news and articles.

Finland has just been named as the world’s most literate nation, while the UK is ranked 17th.

The National Literacy Trust has published a new survey about early literacy practices at home.

A poll for International Children’s Book Day revealed that half of parents think reading a book is the best way to develop empathy.

The Reading Agency has launched a scheme to support young people’s mental health through books in public libraries.

Teen author Alex Whale considers whether reading children’s books can help tackle knife crime.

Author Natasha Carthew has written an important piece on the lack of working class culture in children’s books.

Ross Montgomery explores the difficulty and importance of writing diverse children’s books.

School librarian Barbara Band’s blog Reading schemes or reading for pleasure? is well worth a look.

There are good ideas here for promoting reading through the school library.

The Publishers Association is looking to recruit 10,000 ‘reading amabassadors’ to promote reading for pleasure.

Joy Court is very interesting on the impact of the Carnegie and Greenaway awards shadowing scheme on reading.

The shortlist has been announced for the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award.

Teenage reader Ayesha suggests the way to halt the decline in reading for pleasure is to give books a go.

‘The reality of reading to toddlers’ is entertaining and useful.

Finally, an article on why listening to podcasts helps improve reading skills.