Throughout this year I have had the opportunity to visit and teach in three diverse schools. The culture, ethnicity and attitudes differed greatly, as did the schools resources and their support and guidance relating to reading.
The main things that I will take away from this year and my experiences are to make reading accessible for pupils, make reading run for children and finally to incorporate reading into their writing and carry it on in to their writing.
Making Reading Accessible for pupils.
It was not until PP4 that I have witnessed the pupils visiting the school library as a timetabled activity. In previous placements pupils often brought books in from home and their experience and knowledge of the school library was very poor. This is somewhat annoying, as it is a waste of a fantastic resource. In my PP4 school pupils are trained on how to check books out of the library, using technology, how to find books in the library helping with their awareness of letters and order and they also have a timetabled slot to change their books - giving them a target by which to complete their books.
In the schools where library's were not visited it was evident that pupils lacked the knowledge and understanding of how to find books in the library, what sections there are, how they are ordered.
In addition to this on my PP3 placement the classroom book shelf was jam packed with out of date books, that were ripped, torn and very unappealing to touch let alone read. This area of the classroom was very messy and disorganised and did invite the pupils in to the area at all. Although the books and resources were present in the classroom they were not accessible for the pupils.
Make Reading Fun for Children.
In every placement I have seen pupils asked to read at the start of the day on the carpet, or to fill 10 minutes in the afternoon. Although this still provides pupils with the opportunities to read, it is very regimented and often delivered in a quite boring and stagnate way. To improve this I think it is important to make reading fun - not simply asking pupils to read a book quietly on the carpet (which on PP4 did not happen - pupils would sit on the carpet with a book but there was no reading taking place. They would then say that they had finished their book and could they swap it). With this in mind it leads into my next point about 'incorporate reading into their writing and carry it on in to their writing'.
Incorporate reading into their writing and carry it on in to their writing.
I saw an example of this on PP2 where pupils would have to fill in a short box about what their book was about, what did they like and what didn't they like. This helped to show the class teacher that the book had actually been read by the pupil. I would suggest that this idea could be developed. By incorporating pupils reading books into literacy and into it's own session when there is not time for a full literacy lesson. Asking pupils to create an alternative front cover for their book, asking pupils to write an alternative ending, can pupils create character profiles about their. All of which could be displayed on a working wall - on the wall have each childs name and a space to fill in what book they have been reading - the work produced by pupils could then be displayed. This would encourage pupils to read their books during silent reading, and would help to engage them further by them having the constant idea of which task/piece of work they would like to produce at the end of their book. It would also eliminate the problem that I have experiences in PP4, pupils would have to read and understanding the book in order to complete the follow up work.
My time on placement and in university has helped me to appreciate the role that reading can have in the classroom - regardless of the pupils age. It is imperative for reading to play an active role in a child's learning and for this to happen it is vital that the books, reading areas and attitudes towards reading are maintained at a high standard.