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Learning in the Library Blog: 

Sneak Preview

Published Tuesday, February 07, 2012.
Last updated: Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Hi Everyone

We are promoting the library in the Patana Newsletter this week. I thought I'd share a sneak preview of the article for our library blog followers!

Exciting Times in the Library!

There is so much to celebrate in the library this term – I hardly know where to begin!

Firstly, we are extremely excited that reading is being celebrated as part of World Language Day which takes place on 21st February. In a celebration of cultural diversity and language we certainly must celebrate all that our libraries can offer. Our Home Language Section has gone from strength to strength and I really do feel confident in saying that there is something for everyone in the libraries. We thank you for all your compliments about our increased selection! As you know we have been asking for suggestions of titles and authors so if you would like to recommend an author from your own country please do email me at

Following hot on the heels of World Language Day is World Book Day on 1st March. We are marking this occasion by having the whole Patana community  ‘Drop Everything and Read’ at 9.00.  As a gesture to show our love, value and respect for reading we are hoping that everyone will get involved. We will also have book vendors in school at this time so that you can pick up some new titles for your children.

During this week we are also excited about welcoming Linda Newberry to Patana who will be working with Years 5, 6, 7 and 8 on the 7th March. Linda is a very well known and popular writer who has won the Costa Prize and has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. We have a wide selection of her books in both libraries. Please do encourage your children to borrow and enjoy her books in preparation for her visit.

As if that isn’t excitement enough, in April Leigh Hobbs will be working with KS1 and Year 9 children on the 4th and 5th of April. Again, we have Leigh’s books in our libraries and hope that you will borrow them prior to his visit. Leigh is a wonderful illustrator and we know that the children are going to learn a huge amount about all aspects of book production. Vendors have been booked to sell both Linda and Leigh’s books during their visits so it will be a great time to get autographed books!

We are really lucky at Patana that so many of our children do love reading and that our whole community values the impact that developing strong reading skills and a love of literature has. I have recently been reading some articles specifically about how important it is to keep boys’ interest in reading at around the Year 4 stage upwards. If we can keep boys motivated during upper Key Stage 2  then they are likely to become life-long readers.

It is with this in mind, and as a response to specific parent’ requests that I have jotted below some ways in which I  think parents can help encourage even the most reluctant reader, who has the best excuses in the world for not reading, to sit down and enjoy a good book!  The suggestions will not work for everyone, to some they may seem a little too unconventional and to others I may seem to be stating the obvious.  Hopefully, though, at the very least it will be a starting point for you to think about what might work for you in your own homes.  

Tips for Encouraging Reading at Home

Don’t be too sympathetic to the “I’m too busy to read” argument. Your child certainly is busy, but it is possible to timetable in reading just like anything else. Create a specific time and place and present reading as a treat. “After you’ve finished your Maths, go have a play outside and then we can sit down and enjoy a story and snack together” approach works well for me.

Avoid reaching the “I’m never going to like reading” point by giving your child independence and power over their reading choices. We might think Ben 10 and Magic Fairy books are a very poor choice, but if your child is engulfing them they are at least learning to love books.  Bite your tongue, let your child enjoy making their own selections. Look upon this as a means of maintaining you child’s interest in reading which will lead to a more mature book selection in the future.

Have a good selection of reading material on topics that interest your children. Go online and choose books together from stores such as Amazon. It is very exciting waiting for the postman to deliver the packages!

Look around the library with your child. Let your child be the expert and teach you how things work! Ask them what the ‘Pick of the Week’ selection is.  Ask them to explain to you how the genre stickers can help them in their book selection.  Praise them for being so skilled in book selection.

Ask your child if they can help you by showing you how the library blog and website works. There are suggested activities, recommended lists and suitable websites listed on there. If your child takes ownership of finding these resources they may be more tempted to use them.

Leave books lying around in your child’s bedroom or play area. Try a bit of reverse psychology, “I chose this book for you, but you might not like it as it quite long and has a lot of action.” This is a bit sneaky, but I have tried it and it does work!

Read the books with your child. It is very tempting once your child is a free reader to stop sharing stories together. Keep reading as a family for as long as your child will let you.  Role modelling reading to your child will make it seem adult and valuable.

Once the sad day arrives when your child won’t let you share a book at bedtime with them,  (hopefully it will never happen) read the same book as your child anyway and chat with them about it. Let your child be the expert, eg, “Do you think it is realistic that X would behave in that way? Is that really how twelve year olds minds work?” etc. Allow them to share their knowledge with you, so that they feel empowered about their reading.

Although you would never do it intentionally, don’t make your child feel inadequate or inferior to you as a reader. It is so easy to do this unintentionally with throw away remarks, eg, “I thought you would be a bit beyond Jacqueline Wilson by now, when are you going to read some real literature?’ Always discuss reading positively and as something to celebrate, not in terms of it being a chore or something to be in trouble about.  From a young age use positive language to promote reading. Eg, “Once we have had breakfast we are very lucky as we are going to have time for a story together.”

Don’t let encouraging your child to read become  just mum’s job! Both boys and girls need to see dads reading too and talking about the books. It could be a regular treat at bedtime that dads get to spend special time together with their children. As a starter incentive a ten minute later bedtime may get the ball rolling or should I say the page turning!

Encourage your child to swap books with their friends as this will encourage discussion and interest. Yes, you may lose a few books on the way and the books may become a little tatty, but your child will be learning to love books.  Whilst I really like children to respect and look after their books,  there is a part of me that thinks a well thumbed book is a sign of a good, much loved book!

Play audio stories in the car. Your child may initially be a bit sceptical, but I can guarantee they will be hooked before long. This works really well with series, where your child wants to know what happens next. It is also a good way for introducing a new genre to your child.

Don’t dismiss non-fiction books or web articles as not ‘real reading’. If you show interest in the information your child has found by asking lots of questions it will encourage your child to develop their reading and research skills even more.

Best wishes and Happy Reading!

Sally Flint

Head of Libraries

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