Friday, 20 November 2015

Reading for Pleasure in Schools - Joan Lennon

Many years ago a woman broke my heart.  She was sitting in a primary school class room and she was an expert and she said, "Your son will never read for pleasure."  It felt as if she'd taken my beautiful boy and thrown him out in darkness and slammed the door.

Sorry - that's a bleak sort of start to a blog about resources/groups/initiatives.  Except that it isn't bleak, really, because SHE WAS WRONG.  Totally.  I'm not going to trot out said beautiful boy's achievements and nay-sayers' confoundings or the last book recommendation he sent me (well, let's meet for coffee and I just might mention one or two).  But that woman does have a permanent residence in my brain and that memory rings a little bell whenever the phrase "reading for pleasure" is mentioned.

Which is one reason I'm so keen on anything that promotes reading for pleasure in schools, where the curriculum can overwhelm the joy. Here are two I know about - please let us know about more! 

Reading for Pleasure in Schools is a Facebook group/forum that is of interest to teachers, librarians, parents, authors - brimming with questions and answers and ideas and enthusiasm.  It's all in the title, really.  (The photos are from their page.)  

And there's the Patron of Reading initiative.  (This is their Facebook page.)  

(I'm Patron of Reading for the utterly fantastic Queensferry Primary School and I love it.)

Now, tell us more!

Joan Lennon's website
Joan Lennon's blog


Emma Barnes said...

These are both great initiatives, Joan. I'd also mention children's book prizes, often run by School Library Services. These involve local schools in reading the short-listed books and voting for the ones they like best, often with a presentation day at the end where kids can meet the authors. It's up to the schools how they approach it, but it often involves reading clubs - meeting maybe at lunchtime, writing reviews, debates, doing art around the books, designing games - oh yes, and eating cake! At least that seemed to be what happened in Lancashire when I was lucky enough to win the Fantastic Book Award there and to meet many of the children involved. It's a great way of focusing on reading for pure pleasure and of introducing kids and teachers to new books and new authors. I wrote some more about this here -

Anne Booth said...

This sounds great.

Joan Lennon said...

Thanks Emma and Anne - along those lines there's the Summer Reading Challenge, too.

Linda Strachan said...

Great post, Joan. But so sad that someone would have put you, and your son, through that.
Let's al rejoice in the POTENTIAL in children and adults, too, and ignore those who crush with negativity.

I am Patron of Reading to the excellent Liberton High School in Edinburgh and I'm going to be there first thing on Monday morning to encourage reading for pleasure!
A great start to Book Week Scotland!