We love to read!
At Matchborough First School Academy, we recognise the importance of instilling a love of reading in every child. Not only is it important for a child’s academic attainment, it can improve their sense of connectedness to the wider community, help them understand their own identity, enable them to empathise with others and give them into a deeper insight into the world view of others. For this reason, we have placed reading4pleasure at the very heart of our school. We know that the benefits of reading are more likely to be felt when reading takes place through free choice and is enjoyable. Below are the many ways in which we promote the ‘for pleasure’ element here at Matchborough First School Academy.
We have our very own reading café which opens at lunchtimes and is run by a team of Book Baristas from Year 4 who serve a variety of books to children across Key Stage 1 and 2. Having successfully applied for the role, the Book Baristas pass on their own love for reading by recommending books and listening to the children read. Starbooks is a peaceful and relaxing environment in which children can discover new books and go on an adventure simply by turning a page. It is filled with giant cushions and soft blankets so that children feel really cosy. Starbooks also has its very own newspaper subscription and each week a new newspaper is delivered so that children can find out all about world affairs. Reception and Nursery have their own mini version of Starbooks where they can access books which are delivered by trolley at lunchtime. Who needs a skinny latte or mocha when you have books!
Our library is filled with a variety of books including fiction and non-fiction that match all reading abilities across the school. Every class has a dedicated weekly library slot where they can visit the library. During this time, children can sit on the comfy seats, mats and cushions and enjoy a book either individually or with a partner. Children are able to choose a book to take home and return to the library once they have finished with it. ‘Librarians’ are chosen each week to scan in returned books and issue new ones.
Each week, a child from every class is chosen to bring in their favourite book from home to share with the class on a Friday. A bit like Show and Tell, they share the reasons as to why they like the book, describe their favourite character and give us a bit of a book review. The teacher or the child will read some of the book to the class. It’s great to see children sharing a love of reading and enthusing others to go off and read the same book for themselves. A Friday Favourites poster is displayed within each classroom or on the classroom door so that the class know who’s turn it is to bring a book in.
And it’s not just the children! Teachers also get the opportunity to share their favourite book with the school during assembly time. We have dedicated assembly time simply for the enjoyment of reading. The only problem is, so many teachers want to share their favourite books they have to wait their turn! I wonder which teacher will be reading next!
As part of our assembly rota, we have dedicated time for Reading Buddies in which classes go and visit another class to read with them. The children pair up and listen to one another read and enjoy a story together. Year 4 classes read with Year 2 classes and Year 3 classes read with Year 1 classes. The older children really enjoy the responsibility of choosing a partner and selecting a book that matches their interests.
DEAR Class Readers
Although the school day can be very busy, we ensure to dedicate time to reading. Every day we make sure to just Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) simply for the love of a good book. Each year group has been assigned an author and throughout the year, each class can enjoy books together written by that author. It is a lovely and calm way to start an afternoon or finish the day, especially when there is so much to fit in. On classroom doors, each class displays which book they are reading to encourage discussions and promote the author.
On a Wednesday, Parents/Carers of Reception children are invited into school to read with their child as part of a Book Snuggle. This takes place in the hall and with lots of blankets, cushions and a variety of books, adults and children can snuggle together and enjoy reading a book.
Themed Book Corners
Every classroom has a themed book corner where children can go and select from a variety of reading material including fiction, non-fiction, comics and magazines. Each book corner is designed to be both inviting and stimulating in which the children feel relaxed and comfortable. The book corners really are creative and get the children’s imaginations firing ready for that journey to another world.
When a child celebrates a birthday in school, instead of bringing in sweets we encourage children to donate a book instead. This can be an old book that isn’t used anymore or a book the child has enjoyed reading but would like to share it with others by donating it to their class. It is great to share a ‘birthday book’ being enjoyed by others and we always look forward to saying “Happy BOOKday!” It also helps to save a bit of money too!
World Book Week and Book Snuggles
We don’t just limit ourselves to one day when celebrating World Book Day, we spend an entire week celebrating stories and enjoying reading. We do lots of activities centred on books including sharing stories, reading in unusual places, creating bookmarks, taking #shelfies, designing our own front covers, completing quizzes and simply reading for the love of it. We also have Book Snuggles in which Reception invite Parents/Carers to enjoy a book and hot chocolate together while getting cosy in the school hall on lots of cushions and blankets. For the rest of the school, we have mixed Book Snuggles (Y1 & Y3, Y2 & Y4) where children enjoy a milkshake and read together. It’s always lovely to see the older children reading to the younger children and sparking their interest. After all, that’s what reading is all about!