The Library Corner July 2021
By Mrs Campling, Librarian
Encouraging a Love of Reading
Somehow we’ve reached the last Library Corner of the year, and very nearly the end of the school year itself. While it may not have been the year we hoped for, it’s certainly kept us on our toes with twists and turns (like all the best books). But now we’re nearly at the summer holidays and you may be thinking “how can I make sure that we keep reading over the holidays?”. For some of our children this won’t be a problem - they’ve got the reading bug - but for others it can be hard to choose books over consoles or tv, or even playing outdoors. It won’t surprise you that as a child I was always reading (to the extent that my first ever demerit at secondary school was for reading a novel underneath my textbook, and the worst punishment my parents ever thought up for me was to take away all my books), but why? And how can we encourage our own children to be the sorts of readers that won’t let anything get in the way of enjoying a good book?
The first thing to remember is that reading should be enjoyable. One of my mantras in the library is “if you don’t get on with it, just bring it back and swap it for something else”. Life is too short to keep reading books that we aren’t connecting with, or that turn out a bit scarier, trickier, or even more boring than we thought they’d be. We are so lucky to have such a wide range of books, at school AND in the world generally, that there really is something for everyone these days. When we put pressure on children to finish books they’re struggling with or not enjoying, it becomes a chore, and they lose the love of it.
The second thing to remember is that any reading counts. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a school librarian it’s that 9 times out of 10 a reluctant reader can be coaxed back in by thinking outside the box. Try graphic novels or vines, or non-fiction, or magazines, or books based on films and games. One of my most reluctant readers of novels has devoured our entire Weather collection over the course of this year. And even if they’re only reading cereal boxes, road signs, or the captions on the game they’re playing: they’re still reading.
The third thing is modeling. One of the biggest contributors to childrens’ lack of reading is that they don’t see their parents reading. Nowadays, we have a world of information and entertainment at our fingertips, and especially with the pandemic, our children are watching us consume all our media through our phones or computers - so it’s natural that they gravitate in the same direction! Consider this YOUR challenge to read more - even if it’s just a little bit each day. When my own kids are watching a film or something that we’ve seen a thousand times, I’ve started bringing my book into the same room and reading instead of just scrolling on my phone. This does have its hazards - such as being late to drop your 3-year-old at nursery because you just had to finish the book, which I promise is a random example and absolutely NOT something I did last week…
Finally, feed their obsessions. You only have to meet a child to know they are creatures of obsession - whether it’s cars, Minecraft, dinosaurs, pets, or football. There is a whole wealth of books, fiction and fact, on pretty much any topic under the sun. Don’t be afraid to jump on a bandwagon if it inspires your child and their reading habits!
Every avid reader had something that hooked them in the first place. You may remember for yourself what the first book that really captured your attention was, you may never have found it. But the only thing that prevents anyone from being an avid reader is giving up. Often children will ask me “Have you got any interesting books?” to which I always reply “Every book is interesting to someone!”. The important thing is to figure out the ones that are interesting to you.
The Summer Reading Challenge launches soon, and you can sign up at your local library! You can also visit this website to sign up virtually and access all sorts of extra activities: https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/
This year’s theme is ‘Wild World Heroes’ which has an environmental focus, so why not get started with one of these books:
Agents of the Wild by Jennifer Bell
The first of three, ‘Operation Honeyhunt’ follows Agnes, an 8-year-old who is training to become an agent of SPEARS - The Society for the Protection of Endangered and Awesomely Rare Species. Her first mission takes her to the rainforest to save a dance-loving bee named Elton, but will she pass her tests and become a fully-fledged agent?
Look Up! and Clean Up! by Nathan Bryon & Dapo Adeola
These books star Rocket, who dreams of exploring space and the natural world. Clean Up specifically focuses on plastic pollution and through Rocket, what we can do to help counter the damage done by rubbish to animals and nature.
The Last Bear by Hannah Gold
This book follows April, daughter of an Arctic researcher, who believes that there are no polar bears left on Bear Island. But what happens when she discovers one all alone and in need of her help? AND Hannah is a local author, so all the more reason to actually buy this one!
And of course, the Little People, Big Dreams series has books on both David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, which both come highly recommended by me! There are also some great recommendations here: https://www.booktrust.org.uk/booklists/e/eco-warrior-booklist/
Returning Books to the Library
Between various lockdowns we have unfortunately lost a LOT of our library books! Please please PLEASE check at home to see if you have any squirrelled away anywhere, and make sure ALL school library books are returned to school by FRIDAY 16TH JULY AT THE LATEST.
Emails will be sent out nearer the time to remind you of this.
Amazon Book List
This is the time of year when parents often start thinking about buying gifts for class teachers or the school. We’d like to direct your shopping to our Amazon Book List, which is full of books that you can buy for the school library or for a designated teacher/class: https://amzn.eu/3EAi3xT
Any messages written on gift notes will be stuck into the books as a record of when, why, and by whom they were purchased!