The Bag of Bones
by Vivian French

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The introduction by Alec Williams provides lots of handy tips on getting everyone reading!


5. Raising the profile of reading

It is important to work throughout school, to raise the profile of reading, show how the library can be a powerhouse for this, and thereby maximise its use.

Here are some ideas:

  • Find allies on the school staff, to work with. These could of course include English teaching staff, but may well include others with an interest in reading for pleasure, and the way in which it contributes across the whole curriculum.
  • Set up regular meetings with the English Department, and with specialist literacy and EAL staff, focussing on reading for pleasure. This sort of structured approach can have more effect than brief conversations, and you can document progress.
  • Use the work that you did for the National Year of Reading as a stimulus. Challenge senior staff to maintain impetus throughout the school for reading for pleasure, and sustain any initiatives you have started. The National Year of Reading highlighted the need for action, but projects need to be long term, on-going, and embedded in the whole school’s priorities. Renew that stimulus with other book promotion events such as World Book Day, Children’s Book Week, and so on.
  • Plan a Reading Campaign in school, enlisting help from a team of colleagues, students, and others. Raise it at senior management level, and embed it in the school development plan. If there are other whole-school initiatives, on topics like EAL or boys’ achievement, be a leading part of these too.
  • With SATs recently discontinued at this level, there’s scope for re-thinking what is done in this space. Has your library made a bid for activities?
  • Send regular statistics to Senior Management about library usage - issue trends, attendance at events, numbers in the library at busy lunchtimes, and so on. Highlight areas of low take-up,
  • Whenever you have a library-based (or library-sponsored) event, do a brief report on it, perhaps with photographs, and collect feedback quotes from students and staff. Do a ‘quick-read’ version too, for a school newsletter or website.
  • If you’re an SLA member, you’ll get support from both the Association and from other members. Keep up the debate by using the ‘Discussion Forum’ in the Members’ Area. Join at: http://www.sla.org.uk/membership.php
  • Find local partners - the public library service, the school library service, nearby schools.

Supported by:

Department for Children, Schools and FamiliesSchool Library AssociationReading for Life

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