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Roisin - don't know if you'll see this but can I pick your brains?

4 replies

sphil · 31/01/2009 22:36

I hope you don't mind me asking you a question. I don't think we've ever 'spoken' on MN, though I've seen your posts. I was just writing some book reviews for the latest MN competition and I noticed that you mentioned a school book club. This is something I would love to start up in my sons' primary school and I wondered if you could tell me a little bit about how you started it and how it's run?

I completely agree about Larklight by the way. Hated it.

OP posts:
roisin · 01/02/2009 09:55

Hello sphil
I am just popping out, but will post properly later with a few ideas/suggestions.

sphil · 01/02/2009 12:32

Thanks - look forward to it!

OP posts:
roisin · 01/02/2009 12:40

I work in the school, so that makes things easier.

Do you have the interest/support of the HT? What would you say would be the aims of your group? When would you run it? What would be the optimum age range and size of the group?

When we started our clubs (2.5 years ago) I worked with another teacher who was also passionate about reading. In secondary reading is often viewed as being not cool, so we felt we had to do a heavy marketing job to launch the club.

We identified some potential members and send invitations home, but also put posters up round school stating all were welcome.

We also have various initiatives to encourage students to attend - merit points for regular attenders, certificates if they come every week for a term, parties at the end of term, etc.

We rarely do the 'all reading one book' model, because we have such a wide variety of readers. In my current yr7 club I have students with reading ages from 7 to 16+!

Our aim is to encourage them in their reading, to get them to become lifelong lovers of books (if they are not already) and to get them to read a wider range of authors and genres.

We do a wide variety of activities such as writing to authors, quizzes, puzzles, reading the opening of a book together and discussing what we like/don't like, questionnaires about their reading, writing competitions, watching a DVD adaptation of a book, having a visitor in (journalist or bookshop owner or librarian), silly games, designing a new book cover, etc. etc. Generally students do not enjoy writing book reviews, so we only ever do this as an optional activity.

We only have 45 mins and during this they also need to eat their packed lunch, so we have limited time. With my age-group I would prefer to have an hour. But if we ran it after school we wouldn't get much attendance.

We also have links with reading groups in other schools and book awards run by the county library service.

If you have any specific questions, do fire away and I'll do my best to answer them.

If you want ideas as to how to get children talking about books this book is a good place to start.

I have various resources around in my office at work, some of which are great, some of which at least get you thinking of other ideas. If you want me to, I'd be more than happy to put together a pack of materials to set you off with a few ideas.

If you're interested in this, just CAT me and I'll sort it out.

sphil · 01/02/2009 21:31

Thanks Roisin - that's very useful. I'm a parent at a primary school but used to be a secondary English teacher. I've only just had the idea and so haven't yet mentioned it to anyone at school, but DS1's teacher is Literacy Coordinator and very keen. It would be a lunch time or after school club, lasting either 45 mins or an hour. I think I'd have to limit it to juniors - or maybe even Yrs 4-6 (though DS1 would kill me, being in Yr 3!)

I'll run the idea past people at school in the next few days and get back to you on more specific questions if I get a positive answer.
Thanks again - it's very kind of you to offer to put together a pack

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