Try this in school

Reading Rivers

Reading for Pleasure has descended on Westbrook Primary School!

New to the juniors, my Year 3s were well on their way to becoming independent readers. But how could I help them become lifelong lovers of reading?

I started by asking them to make a reading river to share their experiences and reading practice. My long-term goal was to widen their knowledge and selection of texts as well as entice even the most reluctant readers. I didn’t want this to be a one-off task, but an ongoing pleasure project so they would see their rivers grow over time as they added more texts.

Let the rivers and the talk flow!

It didn’t take long for the rivers to start flowing. The children remembered books they had forgotten about which led to lots of discussion amongst their peers. This quickly led to recommending texts of different genres to each other which they could read and add to their rivers.

Variety is the spice of life!

All this talk around books encouraged me to read a variety of texts aloud to the class and timetable daily Reading for Pleasure. Here is a selection of books the children voted for our read-aloud sessions:

The Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside (Hachette, 2011)

The Cat Mummy by Jacqueline Wilson (Penguin, 2009)

Hom by Jeanne Willis (Anderson Press, 2022)

Space Detectives by Mark Powers (Bloomsbury, 2021)

InvestiGators by John Patrick Green (Pan Macmillan, 2021)

Reluctant reader to aspiring author to important influencer!

InvestiGators by John Patrick Green became an obsession for one of my pupils with autism and ADHD. Previously reluctant to pick up a book, she loved this graphic novel so much. There was something about the structure that appealed to her and she began to write her own based on a dog. This was an important turning point for this child. Her parents bought more books in this series and she encouraged the other children to read it as well.

Rivers flow on and on …

Children who were reluctant to pick up a book at the start of the year are now eager and excited to read and share their opinions. The boys in my class have also been reading different types of texts so they can add to their rivers. The children have particularly enjoyed discussing graphic novels, designing and creating their own.

How did we do and what’s next?

The children see reading, not as something they have to do, but as something they love to do. Hearing a wide range of stories has also had a positive impact on their writing, particularly their use of new vocabulary.

Graphic novels have become a firm favourite with the class, the SEND children in particular who enjoy reading a book for at least 15 minutes every day.

We will continue to use reading rivers to motivate the children to read, discuss and recommend a range of texts.

Author bio: Amarin Nagra, Year 3 teacher, Westbrook Primary School, Hounslow