Monday, 24 November 2014

49 ideas to raise the profile of reading in schools

These are just bullet points at the moment but I will put it all into some sort of coherent state whenever I get an opportunity. The ideas are a mixture of what is already happening in my school and my R4P 'wishlist'. Some are directly relevant to the school I work in, but could easily be transferred into any school. The majority are pretty standard practice, although there should be a few in there that you won't have tried before (there's definitely a few I haven't tried yet!).
Reading for Pleasure- whole school ideas

Children learn about literature from what the adults about them do about it.
Zahnleiter, 1985

You want weapons? We’re in a library. Books...the best weapons in the world!
Dr Who, 1879

Finding ways to engage children in reading is one of the most effective ways to leverage social change.
OECD, 2002
  • Whole school questionnaire for pupils to gauge attitudes to R4P- present results to staff
  • School book council/reading council- two pupils from each class to attend meetings to talk about how to raise profile of reading
  • Lunchtime reading boxes for quiet area in playground
  • Regularly share favourite books and poems in assembly
  • West Earlham Junior School book awards- each year group to judge a particular category
  • Class author/theme- opportunities needed for classes to feedback to each other
  • Class ‘book talk’ sessions (at least once a week)
  • Extreme reading photo competition (pupils, staff and parents)
  • Weekly fifteen minute DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) time (pupils and staff)- staff as reading role models (newspapers, magazines, graphic novels, etc)
  • Lunchtime story and poetry clubs
  • Book club (and, equally importantly, Not A Book Club, where pupils read poems, magazines, comics, graphic novels, etc)
  • Class and individual rewards for using Reading Records
  • Book swap box (‘wandering’ book) for pupils and staff- reception area?
  • ‘Mr Green is reading…’ posters to also include all non-teaching staff
  • Daily class storytime
  • Reading cafes
  • Poem of the Day- to be performed by children and staff- classes to make anthologies of poems, short stories, etc
  • Book/author quiz- Between classes (families involved?)
  • ‘I am reading.…by....’ badges (pupils, staff, visitors)
  • Shadowing national book awards/competitions (Carnegie, Blue Peter, etc)
  • Out and about- book festivals, author visits in other schools, bookshops, libraries, etc
  • Video and audio books reviews- upload onto class blogs, etc
  • Pair up with a class from another school to swap reading recommendations
  • Celebrate World Book Day, National Poetry Day, Non-Fiction Week, etc

  • One staff member per week to share a book in staff meeting (2-3 minutes)
  • Regularly share favourite books and poems in assembly
  • Patron of Reading- Who to replace John Dougherty at the end of his tenure?
  • As well as regular visits from PoR (2-3 times a year), at least three visits a year from other authors or poets
  • Host meetings for SLS KS2 Fiction Group
  • Mystery Book/Random Read/Blind Date With A Book
  • Staff reading interviews by children (to be filmed or recorded on Audioboom)
  • R4P INSET- either at NCBC or invite Marilyn to us
  • Review folder/space on wall (Reading Wall), bank of ideas for staff to find out about new authors, poets, etc- reviews from Carousel, Books For Keeps, etc.

Parents / Community
  • Dads & Lads reading group (or similar)- focus on dads
  • Make it possible to borrow books from the school library
  • Events to be held jointly with WEIS (paired reading, etc) and CAN (especially library)
  • Community- West Earlham’s Favourite Books, ‘flash’ reading events.
  • Regular involvement with local library
  • Parent readers/Reading champions
  • Home/school liaison (My child loves reading xxxxx. What else will they enjoy?)- available in library one evening a week?
  • Information pack for parents- local libraries, websites, a few recommended books for each Year Group
  • ‘New for old’- parents to bring in books their children have outgrown and swap them

Environment / Resources
  • Library- ‘If you liked… then try…’ posters and bookmarks (Recommend for a friend)
  • Library and classroom- List of author/poet websites
  • Library- football magazines, comics, etc- use car boot sales, jumble sales, etc to pick up
  • Posters of new books, etc up all around the school (eg sport books in the changing rooms) and in classrooms
  • Posters of staff reading
  • Posters of ‘cool’ kids reading
  • Books from other cultures, dual language books


  1. Some sound ideas. Look on for more.

    1. Yes, lots of great ideas on there. The Scottish Book trust have got a booklet full of helpful suggestions and the Reading Connects handbook is also very useful.

  2. What about the children who struggle with reading - I feel some of these ideas could exclude those children as they are not able to join in. For example, book reviews - nightmare for a dyslexic child; a badge for everyone to see saying "I am reading" - kids love badges.

    1. Thanks for your feedback. After reading through the suggestions again, I am not convinced that they do exclude children with dyslexia. Could you be more specific? The only mention of book reviews is about uploading video and audio reviews- how would they exclude dyslexic children?

      The suggestions are general ones to raise the profile of reading across the whole school. Not all of them will be suitable for all schools.

      By the way, if you comment again, please leave you name. Exchanging views with 'Anonymous' isn't the best use of my time. Thanks.

  3. What about reading games / all school challenges? I'm thinking of Reading Rocs etc...happy to pass on more detail if you want. Also, inviting classes to support an author with the writing of a book chapter by chapter? They would need to read the chapter before they could comment...

    1. Thanks Dee. I think whole school challenges are really good as long as they are refreshed quite regularly. Would be interested in trialling Reading Rocs.

  4. Your school / class is more than welcome to get involved with Reading Rocs. I think Newbridge Junior would enjoy competing against another school - shall we discuss further?

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