All of the research shows us that one of the key things we can do as adults to help encourage the children around us to read, is to just read ourselves. Young children mimic the actions of those around them, meaning if our actions are centred around good reading habits, there is a higher chance they will develop these habits too. The librarians and teachers at our school believe in this wholeheartedly and always have a book, if not several, on the go at a time.
Having said all of this, schools are busy places and the opportunities for adults to sit down and read to themselves in a primary school is near impossible. This gap between what we know is good practice and what we are currently doing sparked a conversation between some staff at the Trinity Grammar Preparatory School. We wanted to show the students we were reading, and that we enjoy literature beyond studying purposes, so we decided to create a ‘Currently Reading’ wall.
As we celebrated Library Lovers Day in mid February, it tied in wonderfully with showing and sharing a love of literature. Initially the library staff jumped on board, some of us were keen to write a review of what we had read, whilst others were keen to share the books and hopefully engage in conversations with students about what we had read. Having the two different approaches was seen as a positive as it would hopefully reach a wider audience with the students, depending on how they liked to engage in other people’s reading habits. The display was placed just outside of the library, meaning that all staff and students could see it before their library time.
As part of our Library Lovers Day celebrations, we created a competition where students could write a review of a book they had read recently on a bookmark. We were overwhelmed by the response, with many students across all grades keen to share what they liked about what they had been reading. Whilst we initially set out to model good reading habits from adults, we felt like modelling from peers would only strengthen what we set out to do. The boys loved having their reviews on our display to act as recommendations for their peers.
It is still early days and we are hopeful to continue building the display throughout the year, but early feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Students are reading teacher suggestions for texts, are keen to write and share their own suggestions of texts they are reading and are happily engaging in conversations with staff about current books. Whilst we have always read the material, having it visible to students has brought a love of literature alive in the space and around the school.
- Abigail Nel – Inquiry Learning Integrator