OU/UKLA Reading for Pleasure project July 2019
Seven of our reading partners participated in the Reading for Pleasure project over the year. Led by Bonnie and Mary, each member completed a research project into their own area of interest, shortly to be published on the Open University website.
Last September we invited our volunteer reading partners to a presentation, informing them about our hope that some might consider becoming involved in a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ Reading group organised by the OU and UKLA. At this presentation, we outlined the aims of the group, which were as follows:
To foster children’s Reading for Pleasure through supporting Reading Partners’ own Reading for Pleasure and research-informed practice.
To support the profession by building a professional community around Reading for Pleasure locally and online.
To share Reading Partners resultant development work on the Open University Reading for Pleasure website.
We launched our first session in October. Discussing the aims of the group in more detail, we all completed a Reading for Pleasure questionnaire which looked at our own reading practice and talked about the key reading role models in our lives. We then related this to how we support and encourage Reading for Pleasure with the children we work with.
Throughout the following five sessions we went about researching, implementing and reviewing our own projects, finishing by summarising how this had impacted on children’s Reading for Pleasure.
Over the year, the group supported and encouraged each other by contributing our own thoughts and suggestions for consideration. This didn’t just happen during the sessions; we set up a WhatsApp group for us communicate regularly with each other in between sessions.
We also worked closely with Dorset libraries, arranging a presentation at Dorchester Library where each Reading Partner received a Teacher Library Card, enabling us to borrow more books without incurring fines, whilst at the same time extending our knowledge of children’s literature and experimenting with different genres. Further library presentations have since been arranged for all our volunteers who are keen top up their books in between book exchanges.
During the spring term, DRP held a very well attended ‘Buzzing with Ideas’ Workshop where some of the group’s ideas, along with some others from the Open University Reading for Pleasure website, were shared. Activities on offer included Poetry Pots, Mystery Books (wrapping them in paper to present as a surprise), Book Bags, Hidden Messages and Reading Rivers.
In July, as the project drew to a close, we celebrated 9 months of hard work with each volunteer presenting their ‘Reading for Pleasure’ project. Here’s a list of the project areas they covered:
I’m listening! – A focus on Reading Aloud
Tim Harman – Pimperne Primary School
The Pleasure of Rhythm and Rhyming – Using Poetry to encourage reading.
Val Dorey – St Mary’s Catholic School, Swanage
Stories Without Words, Fancy that! – Learning how to ‘read’ wordless picture books
Berys Birdfield – Rushcombe First School
The Power of Puppets and Performance – Developing conversations and confidence through acting
Rowan Seymour – Prince of Wales School, Dorchester
20 Minute Reads to Stimulate the Imagination – Short stories for Yr 5 & Yr 6 sessions
Heather Shore – Bovington Primary School
Igniting a spark using interative books – Building a bank of resources for Key Stage 1
Joanna Murphy – St Mary’s Catholic School, Swanage
“Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin” – Getting children ‘hooked on books’ by reading aloud
Rita Powner – Milldown Primary School
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all these volunteers for their time and enthusiasm for something which we all hold very close to our heart. At the time, this felt like a real labour of love, but I am so pleased with the important research they have all carried out and how they went about implementing it. Moving forward, the work they have produced over this past year will be shared far and wide via the Open University website. More importantly for DRP, we will be sharing this invaluable work with ALL our volunteer reading partners, both existing and new as we showcase their work at the various different training sessions we will be holding for you all throughout the coming months. Watch this space!