Read for Good Newsletter Articles
Find out more about our Read for Good Newsletter features here…
Days in the Lives of Read for Good Storytellers
Our fabulous bunch of professional storytellers work across 30 major children’s hospitals in the UK. Their amazing ability to know exactly how to engage each unique child is a wonder to behold, as they allow imaginations to run wild and bring laughter into hospitals where a little distraction goes a long way.
“Had a full and varied day from gowning up to meet a young boy in isolation where we shared personal stories about ‘bullying’ before ‘brightening things up’ with reading ‘Dylan Opens a Shop’. Met a number of teenagers who didn’t give me the “You can’t be serious’ face after I asked “Do you read books?”. They not only wanted books but entered into great conversation about 17th century London, animals that have ‘Guess who farted?’ competitions and throw backs to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Had a beautiful time with a Norwegian speaking family as we romped through a book about Pirates. Their son wasn’t speaking… but with a bit of OOOH ARRGH! He wouldn’t stop chatting, uttering, muttering and spluttering in Anglo-Norwegian to the delight of mum, dad and big sister. What a treasured moment to be a part of ‘family time!'”
Michael Loader, Children’s Hospital for Wales, Cardiff.
“The board books and lift the flaps/push buttons books went down a storm when I met a 22 month old boy on Oncology. His day was totally brightened up and his very worried looking parents were so delighted and grateful that we were able to lift his mood and distract him from his illness at an appropriate time. We saved their day again guys…they said so!”
Helen Appleton, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
“How much magic did I manage to weave today? Well I tried to use the bookcase to take me into places that I wouldn’t normally go and engage with children other than those I am directed to. But then in the afternoon came the real magic. I ended up on ward 9 with nothing much lined up and I was directed to a child with no language and limited motor control or eye contact. His mother sat close to him and was really enjoying it herself which made it easier for me to give life to the story. She shifted his position a couple of times to make sure he could see me. She was so thrilled. She had recognised responses and reactions that I had hardly been aware of but she knew how well he was engaging.
Then on another ward I was asked to tell to a little 7 year old but there were a couple of other kids nearby so I positioned myself to include them as well. One was a girl of about 12 who I realised could not hold herself up. As she slumped sideways her mother pulled her upright once but as she slumped again she was pulling eyes round towards me. I shifted my position to stay within her sight-line and continue to engage the other two children as well. I was deeply moved and this was the last story of the day.
I have no idea what my engagement with those two children meant to them but I sense it was very powerful. If Read for Good ever had to justify the use of storytellers alongside the books these two incidents would be more than enough. You’d travel to the moon and back just to be able to do it. “
Graham Langley, Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
“After the session with the children. I took part in an event that was being held by the Play Therapy Department at the hospital called ‘Everyday Heroes’. I was very humbled as I was nominated as an everyday hero and the Read for Good Bookcase was part of the the celebrations: Read for Good is an everyday hero for many bored and sad children.”
Steve Lally, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.
A Day in the Life of a Read for Good Storyteller
Michael works in the Morriston Hospital (Swansea), The Children’s Hospital for Wales (Cardiff) and Gloucester Royal Hospital.
“Today I started with ‘Find the Bookcase’…I traversed through Jungle (ward), climbed the stairway to the Sky (ward) and finally found it at the end of the Rainbow (ward). I got round all three floors, saying ‘hello’ to every child and family.
It was a day of contrasts from howling through ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ bouncing balloons off the ceiling with a special needs child to a discussion around the theme of ‘Noughts and Crosses’ with a mixed-race family. Drawing sounds and words out of a small, unsure child to discussing literature with a nine year old. Going drama-ape, kicking up a sing-song frenzy with a twelve year old girl to listening to why a ten year old chooses one book over another. Witnessing the glow of conversation and confidence growing and the enthusiasm over-spilling in a beaming smile with a boy when he knows what book he wants after hearing the first pages sink into his being; his father sitting by, listening with proud eye and enjoying the banter which is developing now at a canter as he re-finds his connection with the mythology of his youth.
The wonder of this work and play is not knowing who you are going to meet…today!”
Can you teach reading for pleasure?
Children who read for pleasure are more likely to flourish academically, socially, emotionally and career-wise in today’s information-rich world. Numerous studies have shown that loving reading changes lives: from social mobility and attainment to emotional well-being.
Schools striving to achieve ever higher attainment levels, at increasingly younger ages, has meant that reading has become yet another ‘subject’ to be taught.
The National Curriculum for English aims for pupils to ‘develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information’, but can you ‘teach’ it? Is ‘reading for pleasure’ a realistic expectation if it is scheduled into the school day with limitations of time, space and choice?
Reading to children, creating an enticing reading space, having a wide range of books and other reading materials on offer, adults modelling reading, sharing and discussing favourite reads and visiting authors or community members sharing their love of reading all go a long way to promote positive reading habits.
But how can we encourage and nurture a love of reading where children will choose to read for pleasure during their leisure time, outside of the classroom?
Our charity’s mission to motivate children to read for fun is based on a solid evidence base. We know that motivation is an integral element of reading well, as is reading what you love and that reading is one of the best routes out of poverty.
Much of a child’s time in school is spent being assessed on what they have understood and learnt, and in trying to provide the answers that are expected of them.
We see taking part in Readathon as a chance to liberate both teacher and student from those processes, allowing the pleasure of reading to be experienced simply for its own sake, unassessed.
Our resources aim to help children to explore what they really think about reading, how reading makes them feel, how what they read relates to their everyday lives and how it can provide an escape to imaginary worlds.
Offering flexibility and choice about what, where, when and how to read is the key to fostering a positive attitude towards reading.
Reading is a subjective and personal experience undertaken for a variety of purposes. When it comes to reading for pleasure, one person’s prize-winning novel can be another’s kindling for a summer barbecue – there should be no set rules – if you enjoy it, read it!
We would love to hear your thoughts on ‘reading for pleasure’. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your view on reading for pleasure in schools.
To be in with a chance to win this amazing prize, make sure you order your FREE kit to run Readathon in the 2018/19 school year.
(The kits are free but to save our charity money, please only order if you really intend to run the sponsored read 😉 )
PLUS…all school kits ordered during the 2018 Autumn term will receive extra-special bumper kits filled with Bear Grylls books and posters to celebrate the launch of his new books. Hurrah!
Click here to find out more and for full terms & conditions or call us on 01453 839005.
Readathon Works! NLT findings...
- Enjoy reading more
- Read a wider variety in their free time
- Are more likely to think that reading is cool
- Are more likely to use the school library
Pupils bored by books? Readathon can help!
Much of a child’s time in school is spent being assessed on what they have understood and learnt, and in trying to provide the answers that are expected of them. We see taking part in Readathon as a chance to liberate both teacher and student from those processes, allowing the pleasure of reading to be experienced simply for its own sake, unassessed.
And our Readathon really works! New research by the National Literacy Trust has found that children who take part in Readathon enjoy reading more, read more widely and feel better about themselves.
Reading encompasses more than just books…and so much more than a school subject or SAT paper. It is a subjective and personal experience undertaken for a variety of purposes. When it comes to reading for pleasure, one person’s prize-winning novel can be another’s kindling for a summer barbecue – there should be no set rules – if you enjoy it, read it!
Read for Good’s vision is for all children in the UK to be given the opportunity, space and motivation to nurture a genuine love of reading on their own terms, in their own space and time, which will benefit them throughout their lives – for good.
So, what to read? Comics, classics, audio books, blogs…anything counts and can provide interest, immersion and, most importantly, pleasure.
A great read for educators and parents is ‘The Rights of the Reader’ by Daniel Pennac. Central to the book is the belief that readers have rights: to read what, how, where and when they want, and – if they choose – the right NOT to read.
So, let them enjoy reading, in whatever form it may take, get immersed and watch their imaginations run wild!
World Book Day Books Debate
We asked for your views on the choice of books for World Book Day this year…here’s what you told us.
Opinions are definitely continue to be divided about the selection for this year.
Some teachers and librarians felt the choice was too limited and predominantly featured ‘celebrity’ authors who are already saturating the market. They felt this didn’t encourage children to read widely or discover new authors, which may hinder their reading progress rather than act as a stepping stone to further reading. The quality of such celebrity writing was also brought into question, along with a disappointment that so many brilliant new authors missed out on the opportunities that having a World Book Day Book could offer them.
Others, however, felt that these shorter, celebrity titles may be more appealing to children as they have visual experience of them through television and social media. Books, stories and poetry is opinion based – who’s to say whose books are better?
One teacher told us, “They are certainly more appealing to today’s children, who spend most of their free time glued to a games console nowadays. Also, the length is more appealing to the children – a book may have a gorgeous front cover and likeable blurb but if it is a huge big thick one, often they don’t get chosen.”
A short book, written by someone famous, with an appealing front cover that the majority of children can access, does indeed go some way to encourage reading among an ever increasingly technology driven generation. Ultimately, if the World Book Day books inspire children to read, whatever the perceived quality of the selection, surely that’s a positive outcome.
Chris Riddell recently spent the day with the charity Read for Good, inspiring children from two Dulwich schools who’d taken part in its Readathon, as well as seeing the charity’s mobile bookcase and storyteller in action at Evelina Children’s Hospital. Dulwich Pre-Prep won a visit from Chris as part of a competition run in association with the Hay Festival, inviting neighbouring school Dulwich Woods Primary to watch Chris Riddell’s amazing live drawing and hear him talk about how finding books he loved in the library got him into reading as a child.
Author of Goth Girl, former children’s laureate and president of the School Library Association, Chris Riddell said: “Read for Good is of course a force for good. Its Readathon gets whole schools reading – what a thing – supporting school libraries and bringing the power of stories to children in hospital. One of the most important things you can do is encourage children to read. Read for Good does this in buckets with its Readathon. I’ve seen its impact firsthand both in schools and hospitals.”
Stories in Schools
We are looking for schools to pilot our ‘Stories in Schools’ initiative which involves 3 full days of workshops with one of our fabulous storytellers.
Click here to find out more about getting involved in our ‘Stories in Schools’ project.
DGAT Read for Good Workshop
Following the successful first DGAT Readathon in 2017 that saw 10 schools raise £5000, this year 15 DGAT schools are coming together to get reading and raising.
DGAT Chief Executive, Rachel Howie said: “We’re always looking for new ways to excite children about reading as part of fostering a real culture of reading for pleasure – and all the benefits this brings – and our mass sponsored read really motivated everyone to get raising and reading. Also, running a Readathon across a group of schools is a really powerful way to build a sense of community across our academy chain..”
In preparation for this, pupil representatives and their teachers attended a Read for Good workshop to help them get ready to launch their Readathon with the whole school. We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and confidence of the pupils and have no doubt they will motivate and encourage the rest of the school to really create a buzz about reading in for their next Readathon, and beyond!
Keep reading, raising…and being amazing!
We are actively looking for other academy chains to work with on a MAT-wide Readathon. If you are interested in being part of this, please contact email@example.com or give us a call on 01453 839005.
Superstar Reader and Raiser: Joseph Costello
This is Joseph Costello, age 6. Joseph read for a fantastic sixty-three and a half hours in just under 3 weeks, for his school’s sponsored read!! He devoured 52 books, including ALL of the Tom Gates, Jeremy Strong, the Dave Pigeon books and books by Pamela Butchart , which were his favourite. There were even some Beanos thrown in for good measure!
Well done Joseph and Waddington Redwood Primary School!