Library Services in the North West are packed full of opportunities to bring literature to life, and to give children a book buzz! Here’s just a taste of some of the things you and your school could take part in – a mixture of Primary and Secondary ideas. Get together with some colleagues, to spread the planning work, then pick some events to try. Don’t do everything at once; start small, and add events as you go. Soon you’ll have a school with a rhythm of reading through the whole year, and a school culture where everybody’s reading!
Got a new class? Arrange a visit to the local library! Staff may include storytelling and ‘book talking’ in their session, as well as a tour, and valuable browsing time.
How did children do in the Summer Reading Challenge? This national scheme through the summer, with stickers and prizes, keeps children reading. Celebrate their successes!
A busy month! Children’s Book Week is in early October, and most libraries offer events. There may be authors, illustrators and storytellers performing.
National Poetry Day falls in Children’s Book Week – your library may have events, ideas for activities in school, details of local poets, tapes of poets reading, and poetry book boxes.
Family Learning Week falls in October too; look out for family reading groups at your local Library, and invite library staff to talk to parents, or bring book displays and activities (e.g. Bury’s Roadshow)
Look out for local Book Awards. Several North West Library Services run their own (e.g. Lancashire, Salford, Wirral) and the early stages may start around now. See also May…
Darker evenings mean time for reading! If your school has its own reading group, library services are happy to support you. There may be Chatterbooks Reading Groups in your local library too, or groups for teenagers; they sometimes have author guests.
What about a Book Week in school? Some schools find November less crowded, and your library service will have lots of ideas that you can try, plus details of local authors. How about using lesson preparation time to visit your school library service, for advice?
Don’t forget to promote books for Christmas presents; libraries can advise on titles, and on places to buy the best.
Some library services have reading games not just in summer, but throughout the year. Blackburn, for example, runs its On the Ball scheme, and along with others, takes part in the Premier League Reading Stars scheme.
A New Year means time to plan ahead. Now’s the time to ask your library about authors and other guests, in good time for next October’s events.
Why not have a Year of Reading just for your school? Tameside School Library Service, for example, supported a local school when they did just this!
Don’t forget to involve parents. Some libraries have special schemes (e.g. Stockport’s Supporting Parents project), which include authors and other guests.
Does your local authority have its own ‘special weeks’ that you can join in? Bury Libraries, for example, arranged events to support the Bury Environment Week.
Look out for World Book Day in early March. Your library may be holding special events, with guest performers.
Don’t forget to use other celebrations as ‘pegs’ for reading too – what about displaying some ‘feisty female’ books for International Women’s Day on 8th March?
2nd April, Hans Andersen’s birthday, is International Children’s Book Day. There are lots of occasions through the year to celebrate books – ask libraries for ideas!
Though World Book Day is in March in the UK, it’s often celebrated on the original 23rd April date elsewhere. Has your school made reading links with schools in other countries?
Your school could take part in shadowing the Carnegie Award (usually secondary pupils). Ask your library – they may support you with ideas and loans of books.
May is Share a Story Month. Library staff may visit to tell stories, recommend professional storytellers who will visit, or organise their own storytelling events in local libraries.
Some libraries have Book Festivals in the summer – Lancashire’s Shout about Books, for example. There are author and illustrator visits in libraries and community centres, plus evening events for families too.
Start promoting the Summer Reading Challenge! Almost all libraries take part in this national scheme through the holidays, and many back it up with author and other live events. Several (e.g. Bury and Rochdale) have ‘passport’ schemes, encouraging children to visit Museums and Pools too. Make sure your children know what’s going on!
Give a final boost to the Summer Reading Challenge before term ends. The more children keep reading during the break, the easier it will be next term to continue the same literacy levels!
Get your School Library Service requests in early, ready for next term!
Take a break… and pick some summer reading yourself. Public Libraries are open throughout the summer, for both adults and children – and if your pupils know you’re a reader, they’ll follow your example!
Arrange a visit to the School Library Service to plan your resource needs for next term – that way, you can be ahead of the rest!
Even if it’s too late to book school guests for October, think about ‘bagging a big name’ for next year’s World Book Day.
Take some time to check out what libraries are planning next…