Happy New Year! We hope you had a restful Christmas break and are feeling revitalised as we begin 2022.
We are commencing the year with focus on the social nature of reading, so check out our new video on Informal Booktalk with Jon Biddle, find out about reader recommendations online and get involved in National Storytelling Week at the end of the month. It’s a great time to get everyone blethering about books!
As a reminder, our free course Developing Reading for Pleasure: Engaging Young Readers is launching at the end of this month! We can’t wait to share this with you and hope that it provides much value to our dedicated Reading for Pleasure community.
In this 2-minute video, Jon Biddle explains tells us how his school encourages informal booktalk. He highlights the need for initial scaffolding and teacher modelling as well as strategies (e.g. leaving post-it note comments on a display of forthcoming children’s books), that help to trigger more spontaneous child-led book blether reader to reader. Worth sharing with staff!
Four schools are joining the pilot of the RfP Quality Mark: January to July 2022. These include: Blakesley Hall Primary, Birmingham; Carclaze Primary, Cornwall; Henley Green Primary, Coventry; and Wiston Worrygoose Primary, Rotherham. Welcome and thanks for joining us as we shape up this fabulous new Award, ready to offer to all schools next academic year!
Reading for Pleasure - FREE CPD!
Our free Badged Online Course Developing Reading for Pleasure: Engaging Young Readers is launching on 28th
January! We’re excited to share it. The course is designed to equip participants with the knowledge and strategies needed to promote RfP across schools, homes and communities. Keep an eye on our website and social media for live updates.
This seminar for our 34 Higher Education RfP partners includes updates on research into Picture Fiction, Student Teachers as Readers, RfP Student Ambassadors, and Sibling Storyworld Reading, as well as updates on RfP across the nations and in ITE. Any HEI tutors interested in attending on 8th Feb 1-3pm, please contact Sam Davage on WELS-Reading-For-Pleasure@open.ac.uk.
Literacy Hive, the free literacy resource signposting website, now features an online calendar of events, awards, festivals and competitions to help with your literacy planning. Discover what’s coming up in the months ahead that can help you develop a culture of RfP in your school.
National Storytelling Week – 30 Jan to 6 Feb
What better time to indulge your class in a brilliant read than in National Storytelling Week? Why not set a storytelling time for the whole class, allocate time for independent reading or encourage children to engage in some book chat with their peers? All this will help to nurture RfP. Get involved!
Imogen Russell Williams at The Guardian picks her standout reads for all ages from 2021. There are picture books, fairytales, short story collections and a fantastic selection of moving, thrilling and inspiring novels.
Illustration: Maïté Franchi/The Guardian
The OU Reading Schools Programme: Building a culture of reading
Subject leaders in the OU Reading Schools programme have created clear RfP action plans for 2022. As research meets practice, change teams will be remaining alert to the impact they want to see on staff knowledge and practice and in particular the focus children- those ‘RfP disadvantaged’ youngsters.
OU/UKLA Teacher Reading Groups
Our 100 plus TRGs continue again this term, developing aspects of their members' RfP pedagogy. TRG leaders look out for the new PowerPoint and Informal Booktalk poster to support you and keep in mind tracking the impact of your changing provision.
Our TRG launched again in October, bringing a new cohort of teachers, headteachers and librarians. We held a virtual reading conference with Joseph Coelho and Alex Quigley and highlighted the importance of developing RfP pedagogy. Plus, we’ve read "The Visitor" by Antje Damm and started to consider gaps in our current practice.
Geneva TRG: An update from Chris Baker
Our second meeting broadened our knowledge of picture books – we added these to our online "blether board" - a mix of old and new and reminded ourselves that they DO have a place in KS2! We reflected on schools’ book borrowing cultures: how to ensure younger readers get chances to choose books purely for pleasure. We also homed in on our areas of focus and made use of EOPS to inspire us, e.g. book blankets in EY and reading buddies further up the school.
Meet some of our TRG leaders
After attending some TRG sessions in 2019, I knew straight away the impact running a group in Cornwall could have. I was very excited to be accepted as a leader and ran a large online
group last year - the impact on our school has been transformational. This year's group has got off to a fantastic start with 16 members in face-to-face sessions. From my own experience I cannot praise the benefits of taking a whole school approach enough
Our TRG was one of the first to combine both experienced practitioners and student teachers. Teachers who attend say that they enjoy working with enthusiastic students who share practice from a range of school placement experiences, and student teachers feel they benefit from working with experienced practitioners and hearing about the impact the RfP pedagogies are having in schools. Leading a TRG has been a wonderful CPD opportunity for me too; it is a vibrant, exciting community.
Featured Examples of Practice
This month we feature excellent examples of educators applying RfP research in their own contexts and tracking impact.
After realising that many of the trainee teachers at St Mary’s University relied heavily on childhood authors and ‘celebrity’ authors, Kerry Assemakis worked to improve their knowledge of children’s literature and develop book talk. She introduced a Book Club and the students completed ‘Reading Treasure Trails’ which documented their reading journeys and ‘treasured’ books linked to lecture themes.
During lockdown, to ensure children still had access to a range of literature, Ann Baker, a Teaching Assistant at Blackhorse Primary School recorded videos of staff reading aloud and placed them on the school’s website. Children were encouraged to nominate books too. This project allowed Ann to reflect on her practice and develop a more discursive approach to encourage reader agency and independence.
International studies have established that reading for enjoyment is linked to higher reading outcomes, and that gender and economics matter. In this Australian study of Year 3 readers, an unexpected and significant finding was that fiction was the most favoured genre for boys and that more girls enjoyed non-fiction than boys. Worth reading and observing your young readers’ preferences.