Friday, 27 April 2012

Teen Librarian Monthly article

Just a quick note to point you to April's Teen Librarian Monthly because I wrote an article for it about how the Department 19 by Will Hill inspired some of my pupils!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Reading Role Models

A belated Happy World Book Night for Monday! On the day, I had 10 minutes to speak in a full staff meeting at school about ‘How to get the most out of the Information Centre’ and I thought I’d share some of what I said.

I started by explaining why I wanted to speak in a staff meeting: to remind them that there is something for everyone, whatever their department. I went on to highlight the aspects of the new OFSTED framework that put a lot of weight on cross-curricula literacy…I talked briefly about finding things themselves in the library, including me in their planning so that I can suggest useful resources, and referenced the DEMOS Truth, Lies and the Internet report and how I can help with evaluating and referencing sources.

The spiel for the final two slides are what I want to share with you, because I think they are crucial:

There are two sides to my role that are equally important. One is supporting the academic life of the school and the other is developing the pupils’ relationship with books and instilling a love of reading. You know that the latter is my favourite part, but as hard as I try it cannot be a one woman battle. The library should not be the only place the pupils see reading.
The OECD, produces league tables of developed countries for all sorts of statistics, including the percentage of 15 year olds that say they regularly read for pleasure. The United Kingdom has been dropping down in the ranking for years, and countries we would think far less developed, such as Hungary and Lithuania are far ahead of us. Many studies have shown that readers do better in life, regardless of their socio-economic background, so everyone that has any influence on children’s lives needs to make a massive effort to encourage reading…
Sometimes children will suddenly take to reading, something sparks an interest and then they’re hooked. Those of you that teach [name] will have noticed last term that it was difficult to get his nose out of a book, in 3 months he read 23 books despite him having borrowed nothing in the entire year and a term previously. All because one book I gave to him in December caught his imagination.
They can’t do it on their own. A lucky few will just naturally have the reading bug but most of them need a gentle shove in the right direction. That’s why it is so important that they see the adults they know as reading role models. There will be relatives that make an effort to do this but for a lot of our pupils you are their best chance. Miss [name] frequently has to renew books I’ve lent her because when she’s shown them to a pupil that child just has to read it immediately – these are children that rarely choose to read getting hooked in because someone they respect is raving about the book.

I finished by explaining about World Book Night and sharing books, and everyone left the meeting inspired and raring to read...well, some of them :-)

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Greenaway shadowing

I don't have a Carnegie shadowing group at school, the library is too busy for me to be able to concentrate on a reading group after school so I just make do with informally saying to regulars 'read this, it is amazing and it has been shortlisted for the Carnegie', followed with an explanation as to why that is important.  What I am doing, for the 3rd year now, is shadowing the Kate Greenaway award with a group of Year 7s in their weekly lesson.  Today I told them about the award and showed them some previous winners, then introduced them to the books by making them "Judge a book by it's cover".  Obviously they can't be trusted to just look at the covers and not open the books, so I wrapped them in cling film first and gave them about a minute per book to rate them out of 5.
While I totted up their scores they had a browse of the previous winners and shortlists to see what kind of thing appeals to the Greenaway judges, and then I announced our favourites so far.  Next lesson we will only look at the 4 they liked the least based on the cover, those were 'Solomon Crocodile', 'Wolf Won't Bite', 'Puffin Peter' and 'The Gift'.    We'll discuss the criteria for the award and actually open the books this time, ooo, and get to know them a bit better.

The winner will be announced in about 9 weeks, we won't have 9 lessons looking at the books as there are other things to do as well, but I'm planning a few more sessions for us to whittle the shortlist down to our favourite.

I was surprised to see that the overwhelming favourite so far is 'Can we Save the Tiger?', I'll be interested to see how much opinions change when they see what's inside them all!