After what feels like a very long wait, our online course, Developing Reading for Pleasure: Engaging Young Readers, is now live! We’re thrilled with the interest shown and can’t wait to hear your feedback. If you have a hand in children’s reading lives, why not sign up? It’s free and counts towards your CPD.
It’s the 25th anniversary of World Book Day on 3rd
March, so expect lots of exciting resources and celebrations. You might consider hosting your own indoor Booknic (a reading picnic!). Also, in this edition you’ll find details of the winners of the Student Gold Awards, a new poster on informal book talk and information about the Farshore Reading for Pleasure Awards 2022.
Our free Badged Online Course Developing Reading for Pleasure: Engaging Young Readers is now live! It’s designed to support all those with a focus on nurturing children’s enjoyment in reading. It explores theory and research as well as practical guidance, all with the aim of improving children’s reading lives.
Are you ready to take the next steps on your Reading for Pleasure journey with the Open University’s Reading Schools Programme: Building a Culture of Reading 2022-23? Join us for a briefing meeting on Thursday 24th February 4pm - 5.15pm and find out more about our research-informed whole school development programme.
Informal book talk supports young readers by enabling all readers (children and adults) to connect to each other around books in common and make book recommendations. This poster explains what informal book talk really is, what you need to do and why it’s so important. Feel free to print off and put up in staffrooms!
These awards, now in their 5th year, celebrate teachers, reading champions and schools whose practices make a real difference to children’s reading lives. Winners receive Farshore books (£250) for their school, copies of Help Your Child Love Reading by Alison David and a year’s subscription to the Beano magazine. The deadline for entries is midnight on Monday 28th March 2022. Click here for more information.
Check out the winning entries here! This is the 4th year we have awarded Gold Star Student Teacher Examples of Practice. The judges considered all the Examples, published by student teachers on the website in 2021. They were delighted with the standard and the enthusiastic ways colleagues had used the research to review and enrich their own knowledge and practice.
EmpathyLab has announced its 2022 Read for Empathy collection. Teresa Cremin from The Open University was one of the judges alongside many others. The 60 diverse, empathy-rich books for 4–16-year-olds, can be used to build children’s empathetic understanding and give them new horizon-widening experiences. Learn more and keep an eye out for their downloadable guides here.
Check out these 25 ways to celebrate World Book Day! This is a richly compiled range of ideas, that we were delighted to contribute to. We’ve been working with the team at WBD for some time now, alongside CLPE and NLT, helping underpin their new approach with research evidence.
Are you a Year 1 teacher, English/Literacy lead, school librarian or member of staff with knowledge of your school’s Year 1 English curriculum? If so, please fill in this short survey as part of a project exploring representations of ethnic minority groups, LGBTQ+ identities and characters with disabilities in the books used in Year 1 classes. The deadline is 28th February.
Larraine Harrison writes books for both teachers and children. Larraine is keen to develop links between schools and authors and has published an article
in the TES about the correlation between children’s reading and writing engagement, and regular contact with authors. Find out more about Larraine and her favourite books in this month’s spotlight.
Miranda McKearney OBE is the founder of EmpathyLab, which aims to raise an empathy-educated generation, using the power of stories to build young people’s empathy skills. This month, Miranda has chosen for us some powerful texts for early and secondary years as her top texts.
The OU Reading Schools Programme: Building a Culture of Reading
The 72 schools we're working with this year have been actively developing the role of Reading Headteachers. Headteachers who keep up to date reading children's texts and take time to chat informally with children, exchanging ideas and sharing book recommendations, make a huge impact on staff and children. As Sonia Thompson (long-time Reading Headteacher at St Matthews, Birmingham) puts it, 'No one escapes my book talk!'
Meet the Team
Rebecca Kennedy has been working with the OU team as a TRG Leader mentor and on the Reading Schools Programme for several years. She is an independent English adviser based in the West Midlands, an editorial board member of English 4-11 (UKLA/EA) and this year is privileged to be group leader for the UKLA Book Awards 2022. This is allowing her even more of an excuse to read new and exciting children’s literature.
OU/UKLA Teacher Reading Groups
TRG groups across the country (and the world!) are continuing to create energy and enthusiasm in Reading for Pleasure. This term’s focus is on developing the pedagogy to sustain RfP and getting away from one-off events. Keep sharing your updates with us on Twitter or on Facebook – we love to hear from you!
Rochdale TaRs Group are all geared up for a fantastic RfP year! Teresa joined us and read David Lucas’s wonderful book, The Robot and the Bluebird, and we discussed the huge impact of quality social reading environments. Colleagues shared some rich practice and we looked at pulling together our Development Plans with a focus on three children to track impact.
Despite slightly smaller numbers at our third Teacher’s Reading Group meeting, we more than made up for it in discussion and all felt re-energised as a result. Children seeing themselves as readers and reading widely and frequently formed the majority of our discussion.
Meet some of our TRG leaders
I’m the Hub Lead for Ilsham English Hub and this is my second year running an online TRG. I am passionate about inspiring and supporting people on their RfP journey. I‘m proud of the fact that no matter what Covid has thrown at us, staff have gone above and beyond to ensure books have remain at the hearts of our children's lives. I really recommend being part of a TRG.
This is my second year running a group. I am a passionate reader with a strong belief that teaching children to read and more importantly to love reading is essential to their future education - and so good for their mental health. As a leader I hope to support others to create a love of reading in their own classroom and school.
Featured Examples of Practice
This month we’re featuring two of the winners of the Student Gold Awards 2022. These young professionals are worth watching!
This gold winner was a standout entry, thoughtfully connecting research to practice. Caroline from Bishop Grosseteste University implemented an interactive book club, that got the children engaging with books post-lockdown.
The silver winners displayed thoughtful reflection into their own reading lives, habits and roles as teachers. Sarah and Alyssia, from Greenwich University, then identified ways forward to build reading communities in their classrooms.
Shared storybook reading is an important context for language learning and often constitutes young children's first encounter with the printed word. This exploratory study describes the quality of such reading between mothers and their 3- to 4-year-old children in families at risk of dyslexia.