Try this in school

Bragging about books

As a school, one of our focuses over the past year has been to foster a reading community that includes our children, teachers and parents. We have put strategies in place to ensure that we expose our children to a more rich and varied reading diet, and introduced initiatives to develop our school culture of reading for pleasure. I would like to share some of these with you here.

Book Brag

One of the first things we did was to launch a weekly ‘Book Brag’ of reading recommendations, with a different theme each month. This was a great way for us to expose children and parents to a wider range of reading materials, not just narrative texts. It has really helped to weave the reading community together, with parents saying the recommendations are useful, their children are more engaged in reading and they themselves feel empowered.

Time and space to enjoy books

Giving our children and teachers the space they needed to share, enjoy and discuss books was an essential factor in building a strong reading community. Every class now has daily dedicated, and protected, story time. The class text is displayed on each classroom door to foster curiosity and engagement, and as part of our World Book Day celebrations, we united the school community through the use of a single whole-school text.

A rich and varied reading diet

Providing rich and varied reading material was important to empower both teachers and children. Each year group now has a refurbished reading curriculum exposing them to more diverse voices. We also engaged with authors including Catherine Bruton and Robin Stevens to widen the children’s reading experiences and spark their imaginations.

Showing our love of books

Our ‘Golden Shelf’ is proudly displayed in the library and contains a text recommended by each member of our teaching team. These are the texts we feel the children should read before they leave primary school.

Displays have also become an important part of our celebration of reading. The library is now a showcase of work around our whole-school text, and each year group has a display that celebrates the texts they read across the year. This has been a wonderful way for the children to show pride in their reading journey.

Training and development

Improving teachers’ knowledge and confidence in selecting and using richer texts was important in our journey to raising the profile of reading. The teaching team are now bragging about books, and the impromptu conversations around books that are now taking place is really inspiring. The team is sharing their love of books, seeking new books and recommending books to each other.

We’ve seen a real increase in the intrinsic motivation of our children. They are regularly spotted reading at the end of the day, outside at break and lunch, as well as in the classrooms. More importantly, their book choices are more diverse and more enriching. And whilst we are pleased with the impact our journey has had so far, we already have plans to take this further.

Author bio: Benjamin Green, English Lead at Tidbury Green School, Solihull

Follow Tidbury Green on Twitter @TidburyGreen