TRG Hull an update from Sophie May

Our last meeting on 28th March gave the trainees and I the opportunity to examine how our personal views, beliefs and assumptions effect our book choice and consequently the recommendations/resources/ opportunities we provide to children. We focused on two author/illustrators Oliver Jeffers and Jane Ray: most of their books were unfamiliar to the trainees (we have PGCE, Year 1 and 2 trainees in the group). In our discussion, it was evident when we choose we are heavily influenced by: Personal experience, childhood, aesthetics, genre, assumptions, favourite illustrators and the main character.

Trainees were surprised that some members for the group were passionate advocates of literature that they had disregarded/abandoned after the first page or actively disliked. This led to them re reading/re visiting some texts. It was felt that we all changed our perceptions by the end of the meeting. We discussed our views on ‘good’ literature and how this notion influences our choice and investment in books and consequently children’s feelings and experiences. We left with a question for the next meeting ‘how will you provide children with a broad range of literature if there are some authors and genres that you don’t like or are not naturally drawn to’? Whilst it is important for children to have the right to choose their own books and continue reading, it was also noted that sometimes sticking to the same genre/author can limit the experience.

We look forward to expanding our literary repertoires in order to support young readers.