Reading Rocks North – by Emily Crumbleholme, ELE at the Aspirer Research School

22 October 2018

On Saturday 13th October I attended the ‘Reading Rocks’ conference in Blyth held at Horton Grange Primary School alongside my head teacher and fellow book enthusiast, Lisa Hesmondhalgh. We arrived on a wet, miserable and rainy morning to the fantastic school and were immediately blown away with the fantastic reading displays they had on show.

Dan Smith – author of Boy X

Throughout the day we listened to inspiring talks from Piers Torday, Ross Welford and Dan Smith who shared their reading for pleasure  stories with us and gave us insight into their own reading histories and journeys. They engaged us so much we raced to the book shop after each of their talks to buy their books and get them signed for school!

The workshops we attended were exploring picture books with Simon Smith and ways to encourage learning outside the classroom with books with Mike Watson. Both thoroughly engaging and encouraged us to explore picture position, colour and size when analysing a book and also discovering what ways we can use picture books and stories across the curriculum and outside the classroom. Simon Smith discussed the ideas of Mat Tobin (Lecturer at Oxford Brookes) around how to identify an illustrated book and a picture book and what makes them so different which was something I had never explored or considered before.  The research and discussions throughout the day regarding reading in the classroom echoed those proposed in the KS1/2 Guidance reports for literacy (EEF) which demonstrate the importance of using a balanced and engaging approach to developing reading. Investigating that the importance of reading a wide range of language is crucial for children and that literacy experiences will develop their understanding of written texts in all forms.

Whilst there we reflected on our reading practice in school. Since being involved with reading for pleasure we had already seen a huge change in the staff and children’s attitudes to reading in school. The ‘book talk’ shared with both pupils and staff is continuing to develop and there were many suggestions made by the speakers that we felt confident that we were doing well. However we continued to reflect and identified areas for development in school to be to:

·         Develop reading teachers across school

·         Engage children and parents with high quality texts and new materials

·         To embed the importance of reading for pleasure across school, using current research to do this.

We left the day armed with books for school which I shared in assembly the following week. The buzz in the school around the books after I had given them my best ‘book pitch’ was fantastic.  I cannot wait to continue the work we are already doing in school and share this with other schools. Reminding them of the importance and the affect it can have on the later life success of their pupils (OECD, 2002)!

EEF Guidance Reports https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/tools/guidance-reports/literacy-ks-two/

OECD (2002) Reading For Change Performance And Engagement Across Countries – Results From PISA 2000.

Posted on 22 October 2018
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