This week I have been all over the country:Manchester, Oxford, London and Essex. It was a real pleasure to revisit Lowercroft Primary School in Bury, where Viv Barlow and Dianne Ellithorn are doing sterling work to inspire young readers in their school. Just look at these brilliant artefacts made by the year 6 children as part of a homework project.
It's always uplifting to work with teachers who are passionate about books and reading. Sometimes the book collections in school match that enthusiasm. Sometimes, it is obvious that spending on books hasn't been a priority in recent years and there is little evidence of new authors and illustrators. Sometimes new books are limited to the most obvious choices and the range doesn't reflect the breadth and depth of books currently available. We are currently in demand helping schools reinvigorate their library collections. That's all very exciting. However, it is important that once this work is done, a plan is put in place to regularly update, refresh and maintain the collection or it will quickly stagnate and deteriorate.Read more →
I am delighted to see a surge in publishing high quality wordless picture books, a valuable addition to classroom collections for children of all ages. Far from being an ‘easy read’ many of these books provide challenging reading experiences and provoke thoughtful responses.
When Estelle Morris conducted her report into the state of school libraries for the School Libraries Commission, she asserted the central place of the library as the 'heart of the school, and reminded us that libraries and librarians promote a reading culture that supports teaching but extends beyond that to encourage reading for its own sake. It is heartening that in recent years we have witnessed many schools reinstating a school library where one had been taken out, or improving existing facilities. We have been energised by teachers' and librarians' enthusiasm for ensuring the library is not simply a room where books are...Read more →