You’ve had a brilliant day with lovely Harry Potters, Matildas, Gruffalos, and a cool Skulduggery Pleasant. Everyone’s had a great time talking about books, joining in reading-inspired activities, and meeting with writers and artists.
And even better, it snowed this year –which meant World Book Day lasted for at least a week!
How might you keep the magic going right through the year, for your school and your library, for everyone?
Here are ideas and suggestions to help you do just that – with ‘go to’s’ all in one place, giving information about useful and inspirational organisations, websites and resources, and details of events and activities, all about enjoying reading.
Keep in touch! – with writers, artists and publishers
- Stay in contact with the authors you met on World Book Day. When you email to thank them, send them pictures and children’s work inspired by their visit. Keep up to date with their books and activities, via their websites.
- Pick up on themes in their books to talk about and explore in more detail. You’ll often find readers’ notes and activity ideas both on authors’ and on their publishers’ websites.
- Look for similar authors to read.
- Sign up to publisher websites to get information about new books, competitions, giveaways, reading and activity ideas, and publicity materials.
- Highlight an ‘author of the month’ in your library or classroom – get children to vote for their favourites.
- Invite more authors! You can do this via their websites, through publishers, or through agencies such as Authors Aloud authorsaloud.co.uk and Contact an Author www.contactanauthor.co.uk
Keep in touch! – with reading enthusiasts and professionals
Join a reading network. If you work in a library and you haven’t already joined a network like the School Library Association, the School Libraries Group or the Youth Libraries Group, make sure you do. Other networks you could join are run by the literacy organisations in the section below. It’s a great way to make contacts, get ideas and support, and keep up to date through meetings, courses, conferences – and unconferences!
Keep in touch! – with the world of reading and literacy
Here are some key literacy organisations which run reading programmes and events, and provide resources, training and inspiration:
Booktrust www.booktrust.org.uk: Booktrust’s aim is getting children and families reading. Its wide-ranging website includes booklists, a Bookfinder, information on book awards, and tips for author visits
CLPE – the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education https://www.clpe.org.uk/ This charity works to show how quality children’s literature can be placed at the heart of all learning, and offers resources, training and research information for primary school teachers.
Empathy Lab www.empathylab.uk is an empathy, literature and social action programme based on research which shows that relating to book characters builds real-life empathy skills.
The National Literacy Trust www.literacytrust.org.uk works with schools and communities to give disadvantaged children the literacy skills to succeed in life, and offers evidence-based resources and programmes, including Premier League Primary Stars, and Love Our Libraries.
The Reading Agency www.readingagency.org.uk works with partners aiming to make reading accessible for everyone, through programmes including the Summer Reading Challenge, Reading Hack, and Chatterbooks (including themed ideas packs for reading groups.)
Link in! – with special book days, and reading initiatives
As well as World Book Day there many other special days and reading initiatives which celebrate and encourage reading. Here are some to which you could link for a year-round calendar of World Book Day pleasure:
March 2018: ‘100 million minutes’ reading challenge https://afaeducation.org/news/100-million-minutes/
12th June 2018: Empathy Day www.empathylab.co.uk
July to September: the Summer Reading Challenge https://readingagency.org.uk/children/quick-guides/summer-reading-challenge/
13th September 2018: Roald Dahl Day www.roalddahl.com
4th October 2018: National Poetry Day www.nationalpoetryday.co.uk
National Non-fiction November http://www.fcbg.org.uk/national-non-fiction-day/
January/February: National Storytelling Week https://www.sfs.org.uk/national-storytelling-week
There are many days which celebrate particular authors – you’ll get details of these from publishers and the websites of reading organisations such as Booktrust and the Reading Agency. Look out, for example, for Elmer Day, or Dr. Seuss Day – or decide to create your own favourite book character day!
You could also use other special days and anniversaries to inspire themed reading displays and activity – for example, 2018 marks 100 years since the end of the First World War, and May 4th is Star Wars Day. The calendar Days of the Year www.daysoftheyear.com gives some fun ideas!
Link in! – with book awards and writing competitions
Several book awards invite children’s input to the selection of the winners, or in shadowing the shortlists, reading and reviewing the books and choosing their own favourites.
The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals are awarded by librarians for outstanding books in terms of writing (Carnegie) and illustration (Kate Greenaway). Children and young people can register their reading group to ‘shadow’ the judging process, discussing the books and sharing their reviews on line.
The Children’s Book Award http://www.fcbg.org.uk/childrens-book-award/ is voted for solely by children from start to finish. The books are read and reviewed by groups belonging to the Federation of Children’s Book Groups.
The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize https://royalsociety.org/grants-schemes-awards/book-prizes/young-peoples-book-prize/ celebrates the best books that communicate science to young people. Students from schools across the UK cast votes for their favourite on the shortlist.
The Blue Peter Book Award https://www.booktrust.org.uk/books/awards-and-prizes/current-prizes/blue-peter-book-awards/ celebrates children’s books published each year in two categories: Best Story and Best Book with Facts. The winners are chosen from the shortlist by judging teams at schools selected from across the UK.
The YA Book Prize https://www.thebookseller.com/ya-book-prize was established by The Bookseller to identify books which particularly inspire or engage teenage and young adult readers, and which the judges, including young people, decide is ‘something special.’
Other awards for children’s books include those administered by Costa, the Guardian, and Waterstones – all of these will open up great new reads and discussion.
And many library services run their own book awards involving children and schools across an authority in choosing their own local favourites.
Look out for these writing competitions for young people.
NB. Some of these close in March each year so would make good lead-ups to your World Book Day 2019 celebrations!
The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition http://www.branfordboaseaward.org.uk/HBWC/HBWC_current/hbwc1.html is open to anyone aged 19 and under (closing date 21st April 2018).
500 Words http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/50pnqLfDywb9CFxjNvth5l0/about-500-words is a short story competition run by Chris Evans on Radio 2, in conjunction with Oxford University Press, children aged 5-9 and 10-13. (March 2018)
Wicked Young Writer Awards https://www.wickedyoungwriterawards.com/ is for young people aged between 5 and 25 to write about absolutely anything! (12th March 2018)
The Betjeman Poetry Prize https://www.betjemanpoetryprize.co.uk/ is open to young poets aged 10-13. This year the theme is ‘place’ and the closing date is 31st July 2018.
Talking about books! – set up a reading group
Reading groups are all about reading, sharing and talking about books together. They spark off children’s reading enjoyment, open up their reading choices and help build their skills and confidence in expressing their opinions – they are also a lovely way to make new friends!
You’ll get ideas for your group’s reading, and tips for setting it up, from many of the suggested links here. Two dedicated reading group programmes are :
The Reading Agency Chatterbooks children’s reading groups https://readingagency.org.uk/children/quick-guides/chatterbooks/
The Federation of Children’s Book Groups http://www.fcbg.org.uk/set-up-a-local-group/
Talking about books! – some questions to get the book chat going
How did you feel when reading this book? And when you’d finished it?
Which parts of the story do you remember most?
Did you skip any parts? Which ones?
Was there anything that took you by surprise?
Did the story hold your interest? How did it do this?
What did you especially like about the story?
What were the funniest/saddest/most exciting bits for you?
Talk about things in the book that got you thinking.
What single word (or two!) describes this book for you?
All kinds of reading…
For continuing your World Book Day magic include every kind of reading: fiction, poetry, non-fiction; digital, online, audio; magazines and comics. (N.B. This year’s Summer Reading Challenge is partnering with the Beano comic on the theme ‘Mischief Makers’.)
Inspiring excursions and places
Take a trip out with your class or book group to a museum, gallery, historic building, countryside or beach – everywhere offers connections with reading. You could invite a writer or artist to join you and together explore and be creative.
Two great places to visit if you get the chance are:
The Story Museum, Oxford http://www.storymuseum.org.uk/
Seven Stories, Newcastle https://www.sevenstories.org.uk/
Books and reading – visible and fun throughout the school!
Reading for pleasure has been shown by research to have a positive effect on students’ learning and achievement. Here are just a few ideas to help in promoting and building the enjoyment of reading throughout the school:
- Have book collections and displays wherever you can – created by students themselves wherever possible. Make them bright and colourful, and change them regularly so that they are always fresh and interesting.
- Have special book assemblies, run by students talking about their favourite books.
- Have book weeks; join in local book festivals and book awards
- Build in time for reading aloud – and a time for students’ independent reading (‘Drop everything and read.’)
- Partner with your local public library for class visits, joining the library, and taking part in library events; and if you have a local school library service, make good use of it!
- To encourage book ownership, connect up with local bookshops, or invite book fairs
- Link in reading to enhance curriculum topics wherever possible. Ask your library for reading ideas.
Some more websites about reading
Reading Zone http://www.readingzone.com/home.php
The Open University Reading for Pleasure website https://www.researchrichpedagogies.org/research/reading-for-pleasure
Books for topics www.booksfortopics.com
The Phoenix Comic https://thephoenixcomic.co.uk/
Of course, World Book Day! http://www.worldbookday.com
And last but definitely not least, Books for Keeps www.booksforkeeps.co.uk
‘The best children’s books provide a scaffolding for the growing soul. They show us bravery and wonder and dangers overcome.’ The Guardian 2nd March 2018
Tricia Kings is a freelance children’s librarian; she is a consultant for the Reading Agency’s Chatterbooks reading groups programme, and writes resources and reading notes for children’s books.