Friday, April 27, 2012

Book Loving Schools

As a Michael Rosen fan, I don't want to miss the opportunity to share with you this great idea: "to turn every school into a 'book loving' school, a place where books are prioritised and enjoyed".

It is worth to have a look to the site Reading Revolution in which you will find lots of interesting ideas that can be adopted or adapted to shape your school.

You will find these ideas in the shape of some videos like this...  
... or in a complete 20-point plan to help make schools a place where everyone talks about reading.

First of all, my apologies to Michael Rosen for the transcription of this paper without permission. But I find it terrible interesting for many of my readers who want to set a class library in the ESL area. Some of these tips are probably too much"school library oriented", but you can think about how can you implement them in the teaching of ESL literacy and in your English room.

How to make a book-loving school by Michael Rosen

1. Does the school have in place any kind of home-school liaison where someone talks with individual parents about specific books, libraries, book departments, magazines, book clubs, book shows, that might interest this specific child and his or her carers?

2. Does the school hold book events all year round with writers, illustrators, story-tellers, librarians, book enthusiasts coming in and talking and performing for the children and parents?

3. Does the school not only invite in a syndicated book fair but also invites in local bookshops, specialist bookshops and has books available for borrowing or buying to support the visiting writers, speakers, performers and story-tellers?

4. Is there someone in the school trained and interested in running the school library and who is on hand to give advice to every teacher to help them with their class libraries?

5. Does the school run book clubs for teachers, parents and children?

6. Does the school give every parent information – perhaps in the form of an attractive pack – on the local library, the local bookshop? Does the school take children and parents to these venues?

7. Do the school and individual classes adopt an author or illustrator for the week, or month or term and investigate, explore and do creative work around that author and illustrator?

8. Do the children make books of their own? Are these readily available for everyone in the school and parents too?
Does the school encourage parents to come in and make books with the children? Does the school celebrate and cherish these books as much as it celebrates its most important activities?

9. Does the school encourage children to pass books between each other by means of book swaps, prominently displayed reviews, assembly presentation of ‘this week’s good read’, book posters and the like?

10. Does the school seize every possible moment - eg visits to museums, visits from specialists of any kind, school trips – to support these events and activities with books, eliciting from all and sundry what their favourite books are or were when they were children?

11. Are there regular whole school projects (like, say "The Universe") where a topic or theme can be supported by books of all kinds, all genres and all ages? Is the school on these occasions inundated with books?

12. Are assemblies and classrooms frequently a place when children are encouraged to become fascinated by something – anything! – to do with a book or what’s in a book?

13. Are the head’s study and teachers’ desks places where special, intriguing, exciting, ever-changing, odd, old, weird books lurk?

14. Does the school keep and use book reviews of children’s books from books reviews magazines, the broadsheet review pages and the internet?

15. Is there at least one time every week where children will have nothing else to do with a book other than to read it, listen to it, and chat about it in an open-ended way?

16. I don’t think any meeting held by teachers to help parents understand what literacy is, should ever be without the presence in the room and the time to look at them, of different picture books from famous writers and illustrators. 

17. There should be Beano* annuals and football programmes open at the Junior Supporters pages, there should be books that tie in with TV shows and films.

18. Teachers could and should wrap up a meeting with parents with a read-aloud session.

19. Parents and grandparents should be encouraged to bring in and show off the books and magazines, no matter how humble, that they’ve kept since their childhoods.

20. The re-introduction of children’s literature courses on teacher and assistant teacher training courses.

For more information about Michael Rosen and his tips for how to make a book-loving school, visit:

*British Children's comic

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