Read lots!

Ask a writer for advice about writing and they are more than likely to say, ‘Read lots. Write lots.’

When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.

Zadie Smith

There are all kinds of reasons for reading. The tricky thing, sometimes,  is to convince children that it might be something they could make a habit of. If you are a teacher, you need to be reading. You need to keep up with what is being written now. In the UK our local library service can be fantastically helpful. Find the librarian who knows a lot about children’s books and arrange with them for a pack of books to be set aside for you, say, every month. When you are deep in the midst of a school term, it can be hard to find the time and energy to read, so books written for children could be just the ticket. They demand less of you, perhaps, than the latest prize-winning adult novel, but they are satisfying, nevertheless.  And if you are not absorbed by a book, and certainly if you cannot imagine a child being absorbed by it, then set it aside. There are plenty more.

Share your reading. Bring the books you have enjoyed into your classroom. Share you enthusiasm. Whet children’s appetites by reading a short passage, perhaps. Or spot the child who you think would really like the book. Picking a book out specially for them can be magic.

One thing that you might like to do is have children recommending books to each other. In small groups, they share their latest good read. As a group, they decide on which title they think other children are likely to enjoy. Then each group pitches that title to the rest of the class. If you wish, they can go on to rank the titles chosen by each group, or to pick out one book of the week.

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