Happy New Year to all our friends in the RfP community. This promises to be another challenging year, but with brighter times ahead. Supporting young readers online and in person remains vital, it nurtures their imaginations, fosters curiosity, and helps them develop understanding of themselves and others. Being a childhood reader offers social and emotional comfort too and is associated with enhanced cognitive development. Fortunately, there is an abundance of literature for young people that epitomizes hope and this can help us all to overcome adversity and look forwards with more optimism.
We have over 100 OU/ UKLA Teacher Reading Groups about to begin a journey of CPD for RfP, alongside a range of partnerships with schools, charities and publishers as well as new research projects this year and we hope you’ll want to get involved in various ways. 2021 is surely the year in which RfP takes centre stage in families, schools and communities.
Stay safe and stay in touch @OpenUni_Rf Lucy Rodriguez Leon
We are delighted to announce the results of the Student RfP Awards and look forward to all these deserving winners going from strength to strength in the profession. Congratulations too, to the Lecturers and teaching placement schools who supported their journeys.
Gold Star Award: Lauren Young from the Institute of Education, University College London.
Silver Award: Andrew Davies from the University of Roehampton.
Bronze Award: Claire Tullis from the University of Greenwich.
Time to celebrate!! Also, congratulations and welcome to Imogen Jenner who won a copy of Teaching English Creatively on Twitter!
RfP School Improvement Journeys
In 2019-20, the OU team worked with two groups of schools in Nottingham and Birmingham (16 schools) on developing a reading ethos and culture that impacts on children’s love of reading, particularly for less engaged readers. This year we’re partnering with St Wilfred’s DfE English Hub, with groups in Sheffield and Rotherham (27 schools) and with 12 schools in Birmingham.
Nottingham and Birmingham Presentations
In December, Teresa Cremin and Rebecca Kennedy were joined by English leaders, Headteachers and governors to celebrate the impact of the schools’ improvement work.
RfP journeys from analysis of baseline data, action planning, implementation and the tracking of impact on young readers was powerful. Well done to all. The slide shows some of our books in common from the year!
Birmingham Blended RfP Conference
Having audited staff knowledge and practice and children’s reading dispositions and behaviours, leaders have set up change teams and are planning in response to need. On January 4th this resulted in a huge blended CPD conference with Marilyn Mottram (previously HMI) and Teresa Cremin (OU). What a day! Now to turn that energy into action in school in line with school aims and action plans.
The 2021 Awards are now open! The judges have introduced a fifth category - Community Reading Champion! Deadline is Sunday May 9th so plenty of time to enrich your evidence-informed practice and showcase your work. We look forward to a bumper number of submissions this year.
If you want to bring stories, poetry and illustration to life, why not book an author visit? Authors Aloud UK represents over 300 children’s authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers who undertake virtual/physical school and library visits. They can help organize a range of opportunities, and author tours and events for publishers which are free for schools. For more information check out their website.
Featured Examples of Practice
This month, we’re featuring three award winning examples of practice from the RfP community. Thank you and congratulations to Phoebe Lawton, Lauren Young and Andrew Davies.
Phoebe, a Y4 teacher in Cheshire was Highly Commended in the Egmont Reading for Pleasure Awards 2020. Her example showcases the power of reflective practice as she documents delving “deeper into the children’s interests and reading behaviours” and reflecting on her practice to develop as a ‘Reading Teacher’ nurturing RfP across the whole school.
This is the Gold Star Student Teacher RfP Award 2020. Lauren describes some innovative ways she used technology to develop a community of readers and support informal book talk. Her example highlights how such talk helped to keep children and the school community connected during lockdown.
This is the Silver Star Student Teacher RfP Award 2020. Andrew explores the importance of stories in children’s learning and discusses how he applied RfP pedagogies to develop children’s enthusiasm for history through reading.
OU/UKLA Teachers’ Reading Group Leaders Training
We have over 100 starting this month! – what a profession, giving and supporting others in order to impact on young people’s life chances. Yesterday Teresa and several mentors met with new and experienced leaders who were filled with passion for this CPD for RfP opportunity.
It was a privilege to celebrate members’ Examples of Practice in December and Teresa C joined us. Since March, the enthusiasm and commitment has been overwhelming and the impact of the work will be lasting. Members enjoyed the time and space to engage in research-based CPD, rich discussions and bespoke development of their own RfP pedagogy. A wonderful experience for all!
Reconnecting recently, we explored the excellent OU Book Chat resources and videos and gathered our own ideas for book talk including - 'book battles' in KS3 lessons, book buddies connecting KS1 and KS2 students and book recommendation slips to encourage a written form of book talk.
Rochdale TRG Update from Clare McGreevy
Our shorter get-togethers have been a chance to share RfP tips for blended learning as well as recommending new books. In 2021 Lowerplace is joining forces with Holy Family to lead the group and welcome more members from Rochdale and beyond. The first few meetings will be virtual, but we hope book blethers will resume in person before summer. Can't wait!
Kiran Satti is an English Leader and Primary Teacher, with 10 years’ experience ranging from EYFS through to KS2. She is part of the Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust, where she has led English at two of their primaries.
In this open access article Natalia Kucirkova and Karen Littleton suggest that a ‘child’s interest in a reading activity depends on its proximity to the child’s funds of identity (Esteban-Guitart and Moll, 2014)’. Well worth reading and pondering the application of their conceptual model in your classroom.
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Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
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