• Making eBooks Count: The case for online readers to support development by Ben Connor

    Research has shown that enjoyment of reading is key to future success. However, we also live in a digital age, where our pupils spend a vast amount of their time consuming information via digital and social media platforms. Although print is important, access to digital books on a range of devices can give children more opportunities to read.

  • Too Grown up for picture books? by Ceridwen Eccles

    A picture book is classed as one in which a narrative is combined with a visual element. This can take the form of wordless storybooks to graphic novels. Traditionally, there has been an assumption that these books are primarily geared towards younger readers, but increasingly, teachers and parents are seeing the benefit to academic attainment, mental wellbeing and inspiring reluctant readers to engage and take joy from reading for all aged children. And indeed, for adults. 

  • Reading for Writing by Ben Connor

    The chicken or the egg. What comes first, reading or writing? In this blog Ben Connor discusses how reading supports successful writing.

  • Storytellers and reading aloud - Alec Williams

    Classroom cliff hangers and library legends

    Once upon a time, when chickens still had teeth, and horses still had feathers...

    Have I got your attention? Stories do that, too, and this post is about storytelling and reading aloud. Stories grab and enthral, they stimulate thinking, they play with language, they celebrate listening – and they’re a high-octane way to motivate children, and model reading for pleasure.

    All your pupils need the experience of stories (whether told from memory, read aloud, or on audio books), especially if they’re struggling with reading. They need to be reminded of the delights to come when they become more fluent.

    By itself, reading is potentially a quiet and isolating activity. Reading groups, author events and online book chats are challenging this, but speaking aloud challenges the stereotype even more, bringing a buzz to books in class, and making it ‘loud in the library!’

  • Reading for Pleasure

    A Powerhouse for Reading (and why your school should have one!) – Alec Williams

    Imagine a warm, colourful space where children can sit, or lounge, on the carpet – and just read: read what they’ve chosen themselves; read without follow-up tests; browse, skip and skim; become glued to books or magazines, or discard them at will; gaze at pictures as well as soaking up words.  Imagine them talking to each other excitedly about what they’ve just read, or the amazing facts they’ve discovered from books or IT devices. Imagine a space that they feel is theirs; one that says ‘Be yourself’ rather than ‘Be careful’. And, in whatever size the space may be, imagine that (in Ted Hughes’s phrase) they’ll ‘turn the key to the whole world.’ (1)

  • Two young boys reading

    Ploys for Boys – with Girls Allowed! How to get boys reading (or even reading more) - Alec Williams

    "Boys do read - sometimes more than girls. They just don't talk about it as much, or pretend they're reading, as some girls do, to keep you happy!" The authentic voice of real-life experience from leading school librarian Eileen Armstrong, with whom I collaborated to produce the government-backed ‘Boys into Books’ initiative back in 2007. Is the issue of boys’ reading still ‘a thing’, 14 years on? 

  • Whole school reading culture

    What does a whole-school reading culture look like?

    ‘If I visited your school’, I often ask teachers and school librarians, ‘would I know that it’s a school that values reading… before I got to the library?’ (This assumes the library’s lively, well-stocked, welcoming, and used). ‘Would I see photographs of a recent author visit on your entrance area’s computer screen? Would I see, at child’s-eye level in the corridors, jumbled book titles, ‘children’s picks’, and author bios? Are there poems in unusual places, like the back of toilet cubicle doors?