Magazine article NATE Classroom

Turning Boys into Reading Champions

Magazine article NATE Classroom

Turning Boys into Reading Champions

Article excerpt

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The National Reading Network for Schools and Early Years Settings offers three great initiatives to encourage reading for pleasure that are free to join and will complement your school's literacy strategy: Reading Champions, Reading Connects and Early Reading Connects. Reading Champions is all about involving boys in developing a reading culture. While Reading Connects is about engraining a positive reading culture throughout your school, by using staff members, pupils, families, local libraries and the wider community. Finally, following the success of Reading Connects, Early Reading Connects was launched to help engage and involve children's families in developing a love of language, stories and reading, and to share good practice and resources and build their confidence in supporting their children.

All three initiatives are delivered by the National Literacy Trust and funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. They are completely free to join. On signing up, members receive toolkits full of great ideas, access to a national network and to a bank of case studies highlighting other schools' great work to promote reading, monthly newsletters full of discounts and details about competitions we are running, as well as ongoing support and advice.

A core aspect of the three projects is the dissemination of good practice and support through the network of active members who share advice and ideas--Reading Connects now has over 5,000 member schools, while Reading Champions has over 2,500.

To sign up to any of the three projects, visit www.nationalreadingnetwork.org.uk.

Reading Champions has recently announced the results of its annual School of the Year competition. The Reading Champions project is designed to get the boys in school hooked on reading. Schools invite boys who are influential among pupils to become Reading Champions. These Reading Champions encourage other boys to get into reading by running positive activities and promotions. This year's winner, Ambleside Primary School in Nottingham, used a number of innovative strategies that had a huge impact on their boys' reading and the creation of a positive reading atmosphere throughout the school. Here are a few of the ways that Ambleside got their boys reading ...

Ensuring staff are onside

To kick off the project Ambleside helped to organise a Reading Champions launch day, during which staff members were given some background on the initiative. Also, teachers from a local secondary school, which had already implemented Reading Champions, talked about how they were getting their boys reading. This launch day was also followed up in subsequent staff meetings with a particular focus on getting the male teachers involved. The idea was to get all the staff onboard.

Male staff held an 'Extreme Reading Challenge' over the Christmas holidays, where they photographed themselves reading in extreme or unusual locations. These pictures were displayed prominently throughout the school. The pupils judged the entries, before being given the chance to take part in their own Extreme Reading competition during the Easter holidays.

Getting the blokes onboard

The school sent letters to parents and members of the local community inviting them to come into school to read with the children. …

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