Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Reading Cafes

I'm going to be running a Reading Cafe for my class and their families at some point over the next couple of weeks (probably on a Friday afternoon). It's an idea that has worked very successfully in the school before, but hasn't been done for a while.

What is a Reading Cafe?

A Reading Cafe session lasts between 60-90 minutes depending on the year group, book and activity selected. The session consists of five main parts:
  • A book is introduced, shared and enjoyed by the children, parents/carers and staff.
  • A follow-on 'high quality' art/craft activity is modelled. The activity needs to be linked to the book, relatively cheap and ideally replicable at home.
  • Some family art/craft activity time (other activities can be introduced as the confidence and engagement of families increases but, in my experience, it is best if everyone works on the same activity for the first couple of sessions).
  • A celebration of what has been achieved.
  • Refreshments, alongside time to browse and borrow books from the school/class library.
For the first session I will be using Meerkat Mail by Emily Gravett, as there is a great postcard-making activity to go with it. The plan is for the sessions to take place every half-term and, after the first session, I'm hoping that the choosing and sharing of the book can be led by the children.

There are several benefits of Reading Cafes, including increased enjoyment of reading, parents being provided with more opportunity to support their children's learning and improved relationships between schools and families. The outcomes are very similar to the Dads & Lads Reading Group which I ran last year (see earlier post for more information). My current 'crop' of parents are extremely supportive of their children's learning, so I'm optimistic that there will be a good turn-out and it will be a successful afternoon.

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