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Reading for Pleasure News – March
Welcome to our March newsletter. Since our last issue, readers everywhere celebrated World Book Day 2023. We’ve seen many engaging photos on social media of schools’ involvement. What was most motivating for your readers do you think? And crucially how are you building on this work? Feel free to tag @OpenUni_RfP to share your next steps.
Tickets to our summer conference on 17th June in Milton Keynes - Blethering Together: Sustaining the Pleasure in Reading – are now available to book online. This inspiring event will explore research-informed practice, with workshops led by the OU RfP team and talented teachers, all offering engaging ways forward. Join us for yet another excellent day. See the full flyer here.
We’ve created a new poster for you to use – maybe for self-reflection, in staff meetings as a tool for discussion, or as a prompt beside the staffroom book box? It offers advice and information about developing school-wide reading environments. Download it to share today.
The Farshore Reading for Pleasure Teacher Awards 2023, in association with The Open University and the UK Literacy Association (UKLA), are now open for entries. The Awards celebrate the research- informed practice of whole schools, teachers (ECTS and experienced) and School and Community Reading Champions. Do encourage colleagues to enter; let’s celebrate the rich RfP provision and practice across the UK. Deadline: Monday 5th June 2023.
If you want to learn more about joining our Reading Schools programmes, sign up for a briefing (28th March for Primary, and 26th April for KS3) to learn how this evidence-informed and practical programme can enable all pupils, particularly the lowest attaining 20%, to read for progress and pleasure. Visit the webpage to register to attend.
Tuesday 20th February saw us host another hugely successful edition of Newsletter Live, featuring updates from outstanding TRG leaders, Top Texts and an author in the spotlight with the wonderful Chitra Soundar. If you missed it, you can watch the recording here.
To celebrate the power of reading for children, we’ve launched our new #ReadingIs series. Over the coming weeks, you’ll see many powerful statements from young people on our social accounts, sharing what reading means to them. If you want to join in, just ask your students to complete the sentence ‘Reading is…’ and tag @OpenUni_RfP and #ReadingIs in your tweets, or complete this form to have your words included.
Wednesday 24th May, 4-5 Darren Chetty, UCL lecturer and writer will be joining us to explore the enduring popularity of Burnett’s ‘The Secret Garden’ and what we can learn from the presentation of childhood in contemporary children’s literature. Book your FREE tickets today.
This month we spotlight Beverley Naidoo, the Carnegie Medal-winning author of many novels for children and young adults. Read how Beverley’s experiences of life during apartheid in South Africa influenced her writing and helped her believe in the power of kindness and courage.
This lovely selection of texts focuses on picture books, and is brought to you by Kate Sayer, Communities and Development Manager at World Book Day. Explore why Kate made these choices on our Top Texts page.
OU Reading Schools Programme Update
John Hattie tells us to ‘know thy impact’ (2009). Dr Seuss tells us to focus on what we want to achieve. Participating schools on the OU Reading Schools Programme are doing just that. As action plans are put to work, English leaders are taking great care to notice and document the consequences of their work. School teams are reflecting on their observations and then taking action where needed, to achieve their RfP aims.
We recently had our third meeting with teachers attending in person and via Zoom. It was great to hear about what has been happening in their schools to develop reading for pleasure. We shared some graphic novels and talked about what we’ve been reading to our classes and for ourselves. I only wish there were more of us! Do get in touch if you wish to join in.
We’re thrilled to be running for a second year and to welcome new and previous members! Some are also involved in the UKLA Teacher Book Awards this year so we’re very busy! In the first term, we shared ‘new and bold’ as well as ‘old but gold’ books using our group Padlet. One of our members from last year told us: ‘RfP is now well and truly embedded in my classroom. The children love reading and I can’t stop them! The assessments show that since September, the vast majority of my children have made over 12 months of progress in reading. I am delighted and can’t thank you enough!’
Featured Examples of Practice
Our featured examples of practice this month were also showcased in our latest OU RfP Newsletter Live. Thank you to Vikki and Jayne for sharing your explorations with the community.
In this example of practice, Year 2 teacher and English lead Vikki Varley of Lydgate Infant School in Sheffield shares how staff utilised the opportunity of an author visit by Chrissie Sains to enrich reading aloud and the reading community by sharing ‘books in common’. Read on to find out more about her KS1 RfP practice.
Jayne Lilley of Thorn Grove in Hertfordshire shares the school's journey in developing a culture of RfP through participation in the OU's Reading Schools Programme. The goal was to ignite excitement and engagement with reading by broadening staff knowledge of texts and nurturing opportunities for informal booktalk and recommendations. Read more to find out more about this whole school development work.
This article, by Sarah McGeown, Emily Oxley, Jessie Rickets, Laura Shapiro and Love to Read Practice Partners, describes the process of researcher-teacher collaboration to co-design an educational programme, and teachers’ evaluation of this process, set within the context of a longer-term UK research-practice partnership. This paper discusses the benefits, challenges and methodological considerations associated with such partnerships.
Get More Involved
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