Promoting reading experiences and book talk across the school - Kelvin Grove Primary School, Lewisham

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Autumn challenge.

Reading challenges: promoting reading experiences and book talk across the school - Kelvin Grove Primary School, Lewisham

Key audiences

Primary Literacy Co-ordinators

Purpose

To promote reading experiences both inside and out of school.


About

In the previous academic year, new quality ‘core’ books had been purchased for each class. This created an initial buzz and excitement about reading and books. Teachers were very positive about the new books and were enjoying reading them and promoting them and suddenly… the children realised that books could be good and they wanted them! This created a new issue – now that we had good books, there weren’t enough of them and the money had run out!

Involving students in the creation of the activity

During class council meetings, children across the school had raised the issue of their old, tatty, reading books and ‘why can’t we take the good ones home’. An emergency school council was then held to discuss this one issue and as Literacy Co-ordinator, I was invited along. I explained that there weren’t enough of the new books for everyone to take them home and that then if we wanted to read them in school, they may not be here and that there was no more money to purchase more books. The school council members then discussed different methods of fundraising such as asking for donations, holding a jumble sale, having a dress-up day or a musical concert. In the end we decided on a sponsored reading event as this would bring in the most money in one go and the money could be used uniquely for purchasing reading books and not split with any other subject.

Once this decision had been made we needed to decide on the type of sponsored event we were going to hold. During last year’s book week I had set reading challenges which the children thoroughly enjoyed. Sponsored reading challenges were our final decision. I suggested that we tied this to one of the National Year of Reading themes and ‘you are what you read’ was decided upon. As a group we then came up with what the challenges would be. Given that the challenges would be taking place over the October half term, it was important that they could be carried out outside of school. It was also important that different forms of reading were explored and that reading didn’t necessarily be from a book. I also arranged support from the local library and they agreed to stamp the reading challenges sheets to provide evidence.


The final challenges suggested by the school council members were: If you are what you read then… read a new book; read an old book; read to a young person; read to an old person; borrow a book from a ibrary; recommend a book; read a book that has been recommended to you; read in different places; get caught reading.


Posters were made and the reading challenges were promoted in assembly. Children were excited about the activity and looking forward to the challenges.


The outcomes of the project against expectations

Many children completed the challenges and brought in money from tiny donations to having a long list of sponsors. As a result £2,000 worth of books were purchased to be new ‘read at home’ books. A tremendous result. The children who had completed their challenges were nominated as ‘Reading Champions’ and were presented with certificates. Children are now more inspired to read and talk about reading. The buzz about books also continued into the book fair and more children had come along to the book fair and we had the highest takings at a book fair in the school, earning more commission to purchase further books. The foundations for strong book talk within school were laid, children had visited the library independently from school and reading had been shared with others outside of school. I had also promised to plan all future literacy events, such as ‘book week’ with the school council. Having their input was inspiring and led to the success of the challenges.

Contact details

Vanessa Legouix, Literacy Co-ordinator, Kelvin Grove Primary School, Lewisham, email: vlegouix@kelvingrove.lewisham.sch.uk

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