Reading for Pleasure at Middlemarch School
At Middlemarch School, we know that children who love to read and Read for Pleasure will not only do well at school, but also beyond. Developing a love for reading has many benefits, including: positive reading attitudes; improved reading attainment and ability; a breadth of vocabulary; a better understanding of cultures and a greater insight into general knowledge and decision making. In addition, Reading for Pleasure also has social and emotional benefits, such as: increasing empathy, improving relationships with others, reducing the symptoms of depression and improving wellbeing throughout life (The Reading Agency 2015).
We want to instil a love for reading in our children, so they can choose, independently, with friends, family or even with pets, to pick up a book that interests them. This leads to well-rounded readers who can not only explore the world around them with confidence, but also delve into new worlds independently!
Our poetry visit with Paul Cookson (25.04.22)
Here at Middlemarch School, we were extremely lucky to have been visited by a well-known poet, Paul Cookson.
We not only came up with our own poem together, we also joined in with some performance poetry and asked him questions about becoming a poet. We even found out the 'recipe' for creating a poem.
6W chose to use Paul Cookson’s recipe to success when writing poetry to create their very own poem about an imaginary creature.
Four purple, cubic eyes:
Glowing; staring; bulging; flickering,
Bulging with fear as they flicker in the moonlight.
Three violet, snotty nostrils:
Smelling; flaring; dripping; snotting,
Nostrils smelling as they drip on their next victim.
Ten indigo, twisted toes:
Wriggling; feeling; curling; growing,
Feeling their way,
Curling as they grow longer and longer.
Eight pink, lanky arms:
Tickling; stretching; reaching; grabbing,
Stretching and reaching,
For you they are grabbing!
Reading aloud is one of the most important things our teachers do and is a frequent and regular part of the school day. Reading aloud encourages children to experience and explore stories that they might never meet. Much of a child's vocabulary is acquired through daily conversations, however shared reading aloud can provide a valuable additional source of new words children can explore, discuss and use.
By reading well-chosen books aloud, that are, in some cases, more challenging that they can read independently, teachers help classes to become communities of readers who can share a wide repertoire of books they enjoy.
Social Reading Environments:
The reading areas in our classrooms are designed to be inviting and well-resourced, so that children enthusiastically and regularly choose and change their books. Reading areas act as a reminder for children to pick up a book and start reading.
Classroom libraries have books that feature a variety of genres and are tailored to the children’s interests, so that children feel that their interests are listened to and encouraged.
Everyone Reading in Class (ERIC) is implemented across school after lunchtime as a calming, focused time for independent reading. During this time, children can choose a book to read from the class library; complete Accelerated Reader (AR) quizzes; read an AR book, library book, or even share a book from home.
During reading and English lessons, book talk is an important element of delving into and truly understanding a book. It offers a chance for children to share their experiences, opinions and understanding of characters, settings and language. It also allows teachers to clarify meaning where needed and unlock new vocabulary for children to internalise and use.
In addition, all teachers are encouraged to trigger book talk conversations incidentally, for example when a child gets a book out of their bag, making recommendations, asking their preferences and ratings, so that book talk might be shared or overheard by others, and in turn, lead to more children reading books that may have been recommended by their peers or teacher.
Developing a reading culture at Middlemarch school stems from having all adults as reading role models. Other excellent role models include authors, poets and librarians, who have engaged children with reading aloud, workshops and presentations.
On days such as World Book Day, we aim to really celebrate books. This year, we engaged in many exciting activities, including a whole school Book Swap, which is now an established project available all year round; golden tickets hidden in books and prizes awarded for children who found them and a Masked Reader show, filmed by teachers for children to guess who is reading behind their mask.
These events give children a real reason for understanding characters; the opportunity to express their preferences; talk about books they would recommend and hear their peers’ recommendations; and most importantly, enable them to see the power of a shared love of reading.
Our school library is a relaxing area dedicated to Reading for Pleasure, with children able to take any book that interests them. Using Libresoft, we have replicated borrowing and returning books, just as you would in a public library, so when our children visit a public library, they feel confident to borrow a book. This is highly important to us, as research reports a link between library use and reading for pleasure, with young people who use their public library being nearly twice as likely to read outside of class every day (Clark and Hawkins, 2011). Nuneaton library is our local public library and there’s much more to offer beyond the books themselves, such as: reading clubs; lego clubs; access to computers, printing and the internet; audio books and another magical place to explore and share books with others.
Useful Resources for Parents: