This week we held our third meeting as part of our TRG and I can definitely say it was the best one yet! Just talking about the huge pile of books in the middle of our table was a great starting point – I can't overstate how powerful it was taking about books and reading at the start of our session with people who are as passionate as each other and as committed to creating a culture of 'reading for pleasure' in their own schools.
It really felt like members of the group knew each other, but also they know each other’s area of focus and how they can now support each other in having a positive impact in each school. Nearly all members of our group have chosen to improve their own knowledge of children's literature as their project area and this gave our initial discussion around 'quick wins' as real focus. It was so rewarding to hear teachers talk about the positive impact of the ideas they had tried in their own classes and schools, suggested by others in previous meetings. Already, the impact of our work has been huge, and teachers are going away, not only 'buzzing' about books and reading, but also with practical strategies of how to improve their knowledge of children's literature and how to engage young readers. Big hits have been the 'Reading Challenge Box', 'Surprise Reader' and 'Recommend a Chapter'. All three are ideas members shared and developed together. This led into our next discussion: how can we use the Reading for Pleasure Development Plan to ensure the initial impact of our work is sustained and how will we measure the impact on the children? The real strength of this part of the meeting was everyone having the same focus of improvement. Lot of clear ideas were shared; everyone had a real enthusiasm to move beyond knowing very similar authors to those identified in the original research project. A number of members felt that a benefit of our three meetings so far was they they already knew many more authors than when they completed their initial survey – clear evidence that our TRG is already having a big impact on our knowledge of children’s literature. The next step is to ensure that this impacts on the children’s learning.
Just one example of the power of the collaboration that is at the heart of our meetings is that one member not only left her 'Charity Shop Challenge' book at our school for our children to enjoy, but also returned the next day with another book that she felt our Year 4 teacher would love to use with his class. You can't get better than that!