We have loved watching Barsail Primary School work through their Core, Silver and Gold accreditations. Throughout their reading for pleasure journey, their staff development has been outstanding. We asked them to share how their staff developed through research on reading for pleasure and a case study on a group of reluctant readers.
In Barsail we recognise the importance of staff development around reading for pleasure. Children need and deserve teachers who are equipped with the skills and knowledge to effectively develop a love for reading within the school.
Reading for pleasure case study
Promoting reading for pleasure is one of the most influential things we can do to raise attainment in reading. Every year our children participate in a survey which is intended to gauge reading engagement and enjoyment.
Last session, this revealed a small group of children in my Primary 2 class who had a low perception of themselves as readers and who would very rarely read unless instructed to. I decided to conduct a case study into the impact which reading for pleasure could have on reading attainment, in the hopes of giving these children a literary boost.
I engaged with research surrounding reading for pleasure to identify which key aspects would most likely benefit my children. It is widely recognised that one of the most significant impacts on a child's learning is having their parents actively involved in their education (Lucas, 2013). The research emphasised just how important it is that children have stories read to them at home as this significantly contributes to social, emotional and language development (Blake and Maiese, 2008).
Interestingly, very few of the children identified read a bedtime story with an adult every night. So, we launched the ‘Bedtime Story Project’ – a six-week family learning initiative for all children in Primary 2. We hosted weekly live bedtime stories on Teams and placed book boxes in the playground for families to choose a bedtime story together at home time. We also had an online Jamboard where families could post book recommendations and, at the end, we held a celebration event in collaboration with our local library. By the end of the project, both pupil and parent evaluations showed that there was a significant positive impact on the children's attitudes towards reading for pleasure.
It was important to share the success of the case study to contribute to the professional development of others. I shared the project with the rest of our school staff at a staff meeting, as well as with other teachers across the authority through a professional learning project. We are planning to develop the project further this session.
Sharing good practice is imperative to teacher development. We have found social media to be a useful tool when looking for ways to promote reading for pleasure. We wanted to pay this forward by sharing things which have worked well for us and for our children. We have an Instagram account where we promote play pedagogy in Primary 1 and 2 (@_theonlywayisplay), which we have also been using to share good practice in reading within the infant stages. We were delighted to find that other schools across Scotland were sharing and adapting our posts and ideas.
Partnerships with local schools
As a school, we recognise that there is an abundance of good practice going on in schools local to us that we can tap in to, and that we can share with in return. We regularly seek out opportunities to both visit other schools and welcome visitors to our school to make sure we're providing the best experiences for our children that we possibly can.
There are other resources that you may also find of interest for this key area: