It seems a long while since I dashed off my rant about the reading tests. Rereading it reminded me of how angry we all were after day 1 of this year’s Sats. When the results came in, reading had gone down as we had expected. So this year’s focus is on reading. Not reading to pass a test in May (although I hope that they will) but a focus on becoming readers who enjoy reading for its own sake and happily spend their time reading a wide range of books. I am very conscious this year that I didn’t really do enough to promote reading in the classroom which is ridiculous considering that I read at every available opportunity.
This decision was then reinforced by several discussions on Twitter as many other people have also been thinking and acting on this issue. I read many blog posts including those by @mrsPTeach and @fod3 which really helped me to sort out my ideas. James Clements’ report on Reading for Pleasure on the OUP website was very useful as well as the Herts for Learning blog. I have also begun reading The Book Whisperer by Doralyn Miller which has already inspired me to change some of what I do
My book corner display is initially based on Roald Dahl for his 100th birthday but gradually I want that to change so that the display board becomes a place for the children to read recommendations of books from their friends as well as information about new books that have been added to the book selection. Hopefully it will become a useful point of reference for the children rather than just being a static display.
I usually begin by getting the children to go and choose their books a table at a time in a nice orderly fashion. After reading the first chapter of The Book Whisperer, I am changing that and having a version of her ‘book frenzy’. I’m going to get all my book boxes out of the book corner and put them on the tables and have the entire class choosing at once. Hopefully this will generate some discussion and enthusiasm for reading on the first day.
Once a week, we’re also going to have DEAR time (Drop Everything And Read) when I will read as well. I’m going to be reading books out of my book corner that I haven’t read yet to hopefully provide a role model as well as enabling me to talk sensibly about what is actually on my classroom bookshelves. I have a list of books that I am going to work my way through.
I also want to try and read more extracts from books to generate interest among the children. We always have our class novel but I think that I need to give them a taste of a wider range of books than just the four or five that we manage to read during the year
Those are my initial ideas. None of them are my own, they are all borrowed from other people but I hope that they will help to generate enthusiasm and interest in books. The biggest thing is going to be my input though. My pupils will not develop enthusiasm if I don’t have it. I need to do a much better job at promoting reading and helping all of my Year 6 pupils find books that they can enjoy.