Schools across the Lincoln Anglican Academy Trust (LAAT) are supporting a Reading for Pleasure (RfP) project by the Open University and UK Literacy Association. Working with a number of UK schools, the project is gathering evidence of the subject knowledge and pedagogical practices that nurture readers’ desire to read.
The LAAT school group is being led by Jayne Carter, one of the Trust’s School Effectiveness Advisors, who has held meetings with all group members to clarify individual plans. These meetings have helped Jayne to tailor subsequent sessions to meet the needs of each school and establish topics. In March, for example, it was decided to focus on book blethering about picture books. Developed by the project’s initiator, the term blethering is used to describe talking about and sharing particular books which schools have found useful in promoting RfP.
Jayne reports that each member of the group has chosen one clear aspect of RfP pedagogy for their development. She explains: “With the acceptance that we ‘can’t change the world in a year’ this is keeping us on track with an emphasis on why we are doing each action, and how we will know it has made a difference.”
As an example, one LAAT primary school in the Lincolnshire village of Whaplode has introduced a number of RfP initiatives. These include scrapbooks containing pupils’ comments and drawings about the books they have read, together with a star rating, and a Story Basket featuring a different book every week. A reading corner has also been set up in a tepee filled with blankets and cushions so children have somewhere quiet and comfortable to go and read.
As part of its research, the RfP project is exploring teachers’ knowledge of children’s literature and other texts, from classic tales to graphic novels, and the associated pedagogy, including reading aloud, social reading environments and informal book talk. Teachers are also being encouraged to share their RfP practice as part of a vibrant professional community of readers.
Summing up, Jayne says LAAT fully supports the RfP project which endorses the Trust’s view that reading is the entitlement of every child. She concludes: “This project is inspiring teachers, teaching assistants, librarians, and literacy coordinators to explore new and exciting ways to support reading for pleasure in our schools and create a love of books beyond lessons and the classroom.”