Finding our tribe at conferences!

Last month Read for Good Trustee Rachel Bolton attended the School Library Association (SLA) Conference in Sheffield and the Open University (OU) Reading for Pleasure conference in Milton Keynes.

Rachel shares some of her feedback from these events below:

“As an enthusiastic trustee of Read for Good, it was a huge privilege to see and be a part of the school’s team at both the SLA Conference and the OU Reading for Pleasure conference.

Standing alongside Tash and Lucy, we set out our tables very early with the eye-catching orange Read for Good regalia that is now so well recognised across the publishing and school’s world.

Throughout the three days, it was so gratifying to see the constant stream of visitors to our table, not only for the free books from our publishing partners, or the sponsored bookmarks and orange pens, but to be able to engage in conversations with teachers and librarians about the place of reading for pleasure in schools. It was uplifting and at times quite hard to hear.

The main takeaway from both librarians and teachers across all sectors – private and state, primary and secondary – and even from abroad (Read for Good now has material on its way back to a school in China!) is how hard people are working and how enthusiastic the professionals are in their quest to encourage reading for pleasure amongst children. 

Yes, there are many battles that are being fought daily with low or non-existent budgets; Yes, there will always be reluctant readers, and there can even be constraints from other school staff who don’t place the same value on reading for pleasure as we do, but at all times I was both delighted and amazed at the enthusiasm delegates had for the work Read for Good does and consequently how many wanted to become involved with us.

At each conference the team promoted the charity’s principles of access, choice, and inspiration for children’s reading. This was helped enormously by strengthening our links and friendships with some exhibiting publishers (Guppy, Nosy Crow, David Fickling, Walker Books) and creating new links with others (Collins, Badger Learning, Magic Cat, b small publishing).

There were author conversations too around our Readathon and hospital programme with the brilliant Hannah Gold, Candy Gourlay, Lisa Williamson and Piu DasGupta. How great that they already knew what we do!

Sitting in long meetings and spending time on policies or financial affairs is a necessary but at times tedious job for a charity trustee. However, being able to be fully involved with the team at events like this has really opened my eyes to the importance of Read for Good’s work which I am very proud to be a part of.”

Rachel Bolton, Read for Good Trustee, 17 June 2024

Find out more about the work Read for Good is doing to support children to read for pleasure here: https://readforgood.org/join-the-fun/ 

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