The winners of The Farshore Reading for Pleasure Teacher Awards 2022, in association with the Open University and the UK Literacy Association (UKLA), have been announced, revealing how teachers have found innovative ways to inspire reading for pleasure in the classroom.
Farshore’s 2022 Reading for Pleasure research showed that in 2021 reading for pleasure amongst children remained low, with only 25% of children saying they read daily or nearly every day for pleasure, rather than for schoolwork, meaning teachers have an even more vital role to play. Reading for pleasure is a simple solution to help with academic attainment, social mobility and mental health issues post-pandemic but the research shows that 64% of 0-17s would rather watch TV, play video games or go online than read books.
This year’s entries saw teachers at schools across the length and breadth of the UK united in a mission to get children and their families reading, despite the continued disruption caused by the pandemic, cost of living crisis and budgetary constraints. Winners were awarded in four categories:
Community Reading Champion – WINNER: Amanda Hanton, Leicestershire County Council Virtual school
School Reading Champion – WINNER: Lucas Maxwell, Glenthorne High School, Sutton
Experienced Teacher – WINNER: Amy Greatrex, South Wilford Endowed C of E Primary School, Nottingham
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Sarah Bell, The Holt Primary School, Skellingthorpe, Lincoln
Whole School – JOINT WINNERS: Georgie Lax, Starcross Primary, Exeter, Devon; and Claire Nelson, Cheadle Catholic Infant School, Cheadle
This is the second win for Georgie Lax after winning the Experienced Teacher category in 2021. In the Whole School category, at her school, Starcross Primary in Exeter, they established a Change Team of passionate teachers and teaching assistants from across all year groups with an aim of increasing knowledge of current and new authors, with a focus on poetry. Ensuring that every child was represented in the books they read, the award judges got a real sense of reading for pleasure being woven into the fabric of the school, evidenced by many projects including staff adding ‘what I am reading’ inserts to their lanyards, pairing older and younger children to become reading buddies and many more truly impressive initiatives. Feedback from both parents and children has been positive, and the school itself has observed that KS1 SATS reading results being 10% higher than in 2019 and the frequency in which KS2 children are changing Accelerated Reader books has increased.
At Cheadle Catholic Infant School, Cheadle, Claire Nelson, the second joint winner of the Whole School award, showed clear aims which she and the school delivered on superbly. Highlights included building teachers’ knowledge of books, diversifying the range on offer, pupil book choice and their great engagement of parents. The judges especially loved ‘The Battle of the Books’ and their recognition of the power of humour and laughter to engage. The school also built links with local libraries and the sourcing of authors from the local community for school visits.
Community Reading Champion winner Amanda Hanton at Leicestershire County Council Virtual school, focused on hard-to-reach and vulnerable children. Judges noted that their My Books, My Story project made good use of reading for pleasure research and was clearly a highly effective way to engage and enthuse children, young people and their foster families with books, reading and stories. The project saw children and young people in care create an exhibition of artwork inspired by books, which was available as a pop-up exhibition in Leicester’s main shopping centre; an interactive online exhibition; and a travelling exhibition in community spaces.
The judges admired many initiatives from School Reading Champion winner Lucas Maxell at Glenthorne High School in Sutton. Lucas engaged pupils and staff through a book award scheme which put children in control of their reading journey and as a result there has been a significant increase in book borrowing from the school library.
In the final category, Experienced Teacher, Amy Greatrex at South Wilford Endowed C of E Primary School in Nottingham built a reading community in school as well as in the home. Highlights also included a class voting system with the use of pebbles which offered easy involvement for young children. The power of choice was also evident, and the judges commented on the impressive range of books and the recognition that reading identity is fluid, not fixed. Farshore’s research shows that children feel more motivated by feeling in control of their reading choices. By having this freedom of choice, children are invested in their decision and have genuine intent to read.
The Reading for Pleasure Awards 2022 judges were Joy Court, Co-founder: All Around Reading; Teresa Cremin, Professor of Education, The Open University; Alison David, Consumer Insight Director, Farshore; Fiona Evans, Head of Schools Programmes, NLT; Cally Poplak, Executive Publisher, Farshore Books; David Reedy, UK Literacy Association; Mike Stirling, Creative Director, Beano Studios.