The new academic year has been full steam ahead for many of you! With lots of plans in place and pledges of commitment to Reading for Pleasure over the coming year, we are confident there will be many exciting successes as you work to engage and motivate young readers.
In this edition, we share news of a free RfP online course, announce the fabulous Booknic winners and meet another member of our dedicated team. We’re still feeling inspired by National Poetry Day, so we’re featuring some brilliant teachers’ examples of bringing a love of poetry into their classrooms too.
FREE OU Reading for Pleasure Online Course – Coming Soon-ish!
We’re excited to be launching our free Badged Online Course (BoC) soon, which accessibly examines research and practice in fostering Reading for Pleasure. An 8-week course, it will enrich your knowledge and understanding of RfP and help you nurture the habit of reading in childhood. Keep your eyes peeled! We’ll keep editing our new films and getting publishers’ permissions etc!
Congratulations #Booknic Winners!
There were some wonderful photos of staff and children enjoying quality reading time as part of our #Booknic initiative, so thank you to everyone who took part. Congratulations to the following winners who will be receiving a fabulous book bundle to enjoy:
Carclaze Primary School, St Austell, Cornwall
Grasmere Academy, Killingworth, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Do join us on Thursday 21st October 7pm – 7.45pm as we celebrate delight in reading with the Reading for Pleasure Awards 2021. You’ll get the chance hear from judges and winners, ands be part of a passionate community of readers. It’ll be a night to remember- Book your tickets here!
If you found that National Poetry Day inspired you, then why not check out some of the fabulous ways others have brought a love of poetry and word play into the classroom? From daily readings, to poetry hunts and a poetry café, there are lots of ideas you could try to engage young poetry readers.
Whole School RfP development
Our whole school programme focuses on the ‘RfP disadvantaged’ and supports English Leaders in reviewing, planning and developing staff knowledge and provision. This month, 72 such leaders are closely analysing their schools’ baseline data. Hard work, but worth it to secure an authentic and detailed understanding from which to build their school action plans.
Meet the team
Debbie joined the team in September as a Lecturer in Reading for Pleasure. In this new post, she is working on our whole school RfP development programme, with TRGs, and developing new resources and events. Debbie also works as an English adviser in two South West London authorities, and is co-founder of a new book award. She feels privileged that she now has her dream job, and her life revolves around great books!
OU/ UKLA Teacher Reading Groups
There’s still time to join a group if you wish, with over 100 to choose from, many are blended, some are online- there’s hopefully one near you! These groups engage in yearlong CPDL to nurture members’ and children’s pleasure in reading and redress social justice in the process.
The South Lanarkshire secondary TRG launched again in September, bringing a new cohort of our secondary teachers and school librarians together. Word had spread about the way the TRG invigorates people’s passion for RfP and this was evident in the numbers wanting to take part.
Our Dubai TRG has become rather more international this year with members from Milan, Malaysia and Nigeria, as well as across Dubai. After a story (John Brown, ‘Rose and the Midnight Cat’) we all introduced ourselves and described a favourite book from their childhood in just one word – more difficult than we thought!
Meet some of our TRG leaders
Eve Cairns Vollans: I have been running #TRGPlymouth for the past three years. Every year it’s been a fantastic experience. Discussing the research and then applying our creativity to bring our learning to life has positively impacted on so many children. This year, we’ve an added twist, involving the local community… I’m looking forward to making more of a difference!
Robert Laight: I am delighted to be leading the Wythall TRG again this year. For me, it's about improving life chances for children. The transformative effect of being a reader is clear from the research and getting this knowledge and these practices into as many classrooms as possible is highly motivating and rewarding. The opportunity to work with passionate colleagues is inspiring, and helps me enhance my own practice too. What's not to love?
Featured Examples of Practice
In reverence to National Poetry Day, we are focusing this month’s Examples of Practice on some wonderful ways of bringing poetry alive.
After surveying children across KS2 and realising their knowledge of poets and poetry was limited, Jon Biddle of Moorlands Primary Academy in Norfolk, worked to increase the profile of poetry across the school in part through daily poetry readings and performances.
As part of Sadie’s responsibility for writing within Canary Wharf Academy, she sought to address the poetry knowledge gap by introducing a poet-tree project and a poetry gallery, that made more time and space for choice-led poetry reading of poetry for all and shared this with parents and the wider community.
Marcia Williams is famous for her retellings of classic stories. From Shakespeare and Dickens to the Canterbury Tales and Greek Myths, her humorous comic-strip illustrations are hugely popular all over the world. Recent titles include Children Who Changed the World, The Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Adventurers! and Three Cheers for Women!
Danni Cooke is the Hub Lead for Ilsham English Hub in the south west. The English Hubs initiative aims to offer support to schools, academies and free schools to support them in the teaching of phonics, early language and reading. Danni is a big advocate for RfP and leads one of the OU/ UKLA TRGs.
An OU team of researchers are exploring effective approaches to nurturing RfP and WfP by working with The Mercers Foundation and six literacy organisations in London (2020-2023). This brief paper reviews how the projects adapted in response to the pandemic-related challenges and learnt lessons on the way.
Get More Involved
Follow us on Twitter @OpenUni_RfP and share your own experiences using #OURfP