As May progresses and we anticipate better weather and better times ahead, you might like to think about how to make the most of your outdoor spaces to foster children’s Reading for Pleasure. Tents and dens can make wonderful cosy reading nooks that encourage book chat and social reading. You’ll find lots of ideas in the Social Reading Environments section of the website.
This month’s newsletter is packed with information about upcoming events and new initiatives to help us support children’s RfP, so do read on!
Stay safe and stay in touch @OpenUni_RfP Lucy Rodriguez Leon
This new initiative, shaped by OU research and collaboration, aims to promote the joy of reading by increasing access to and ownership of books. Children, teenagers, and parents can pick up a book for free
at any Morrisons store across the UK and donate one in its place, if they can. Morrisons are donating 50,000 books to help families in need. Do pop into your nearest store and give unwanted books!
This was a first, a magazine style event with nearly 160 folk, and recommendations for Top Texts, News, Research, TRG Updates, Examples of Practice and Marcia Williams in the Spotlight! Marcia observed “Reading is like breathing… during lockdown, books were my friends, my entertainment, my meals out, my travel, my everything”. We so agree! Thanks for joining us!
20 award-winning authors, including Coram Boy author Jamila Gavin, Mr Gum! author Andy Stanton and The Gruffalo author Axel Scheffler, will read from their most-loved and new books, along with interviews, performances and resources. The Festival- 14-18 June 2021 - will help schools narrow the literacy gap that widened due to Covid-19 and support creativity and wellbeing by connecting pupils of all ages and abilities to a diverse range of quality contemporary literature.
Never have we needed empathy more. Empathy Day is on 10 June. This year’s theme is walking in someone else’s shoes. The calls to action are: READ – Use empathy-rich books to deepen your understanding of other people. CONNECT – Go on an Empathy Walk and connect to the reality of your local community. ACT – Use your increased understanding to help change things. Great Toolkits too!
The OU are delighted to be part of the Steering Group that designed this call for evidence on the provision of primary school libraries pre, during and post COVID-19. Led by the NLT and supported by Penguin Random House, the Review will make recommendations to government on how they can support the future of primary school libraries. Do take part! Deadline 25th June.
Adele Darlington from Leighfield Primary has been offering a Reading Newsletter for a while. Do check out her sections to see how she lays it out and what she includes! Then make your own! An opportunity to tempt parents as well as children!
Featured Examples of Practice
This month we’re featuring two examples from members of our RfP community. Thank you to Jennifer Cole and Karen Robertson.
Jennifer’s example illustrates the importance and power of engaging with parents to support children’s RfP. This example of practice documents a wonderful ‘Book Tasting’ event in which parents and children unwrapped books, discussed the front and back covers and decided whether they would ‘stick or twist’! The event reinforced the message that everyone has different reading preferences and like to read different things.
This example was featured in our newsletter in 2019, however, we think it is an example well worth revisiting. Karen discusses the process and impact of empowering children to take ownership of reading spaces and the school library. Karen’s observations revealed how responding to children’s suggestions fostered engagement and enhanced book talk and reader recommendations.
Frank Cottrell-Boyce is the author of Runaway Robot, Millions, Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth, Framed, Cosmic, The Astounding Broccoli Boy
and the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang sequels. Frank’s first book, Millions, won the CILIP Carnegie Medal in 2004 and he later won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize for The Unforgettable Coat (Walker Books).
Elaine Allen is an Executive Headteacher at a primary school and English Hub in Blackpool and is currently Chair of the English Hubs’ Council and serves on both the Blackpool and Liverpool Education Improvement Boards.
This research from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education highlights many concerns about reading and literacy voiced by over 1000 teachers during 2020 lockdown. This summary by the CEO Louise Johns-Shepherd, highlights, for example practitioners’ concerns about children’s access to books, the creative ways they sought to solve this challenge and much more besides. Well worth reading.
Get More Involved
Follow us on Twitter @OpenUni_RfP and share your own experiences using #OURfP