Now that my return to teaching is looming ever nearer, I’ve been thinking a lot about my classroom and teaching in general. Being a mum to a reluctant 8 year-old reader, the main area I’ve been pondering about is reading. Not the mechanics of reading … just reading for the pure joy of it.
I made of list of some of the things that we use within the school to promote reading:
- My class has a ‘lucky dip’ – when a child has read 5 books, they get to dive in.
- We have an end of year ‘Reader of the Year’ award.
- Reading diaries are sent home to encourage parents to read with their child.
- We have specific group reading sessions.
- Every class has a reading corner.
And then I stopped, even though the list could keep on going. I stopped because it suddenly struck me that none of the above points are really targeting reading for pleasure. I’m not saying that they don’t have a place within the school – believe me, my class love the lucky dip – it’s just that they somehow feel cold, empty. I want my pupils (and my own son) to love reading … I want to see their faces light up when they pick up a book … I want to see them reading when I haven’t specified it as a ‘reading session’ … I want them to come and tell me about books they’ve read without me asking them to write a book review. Am I asking too much? Am I wishing for the impossible? I don’t think I am. I mean, what isn’t there to love about books?
So, the second list I’m working on (I’m a great believer in lists, by the way), are ideas that I intend on implementing the second I step foot back into the school.
- We need a ‘school library’, not just a reading corner in each class but somewhere central – perhaps an outdoor shed turned into a magical treasure trove of books. Somewhere to chill out with a book at playtime/end of the day/rainy play/time out – whenever. Ideally, I’d love a writing shed too!
- More author visits – I don’t think that there’s anything better to get pupils enthused about books.
- Give pupils far more opportunities to write and create their own stories – their way using their words.
- Get out of the classroom – explore, go on a story hunt.
And that’s where I’m at, at the moment. I would love it if anyone reading this blog would like to contribute their own ideas/thoughts about how to get children reading for pleasure. After all, it’s one of life’s greatest pleasure and for a child to miss out on this … well, it’s just not right is it.
Hwyl am y tro x