About Me

My photo
I currently work as a school librarian at a school in Welwyn Garden City in Herts. I am also the Chair of the Federation of Children's Book Groups a National Reading and Literacy Charity as well as being founder of National Non-Fiction Day. I also work as an indepedent consultant to publishers, schools and librarans

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

A new lit experience

Myself and one of our english in school have started our own blog with the expectation of hwlping students to raise their awareness of literature through a different medium. We are directed the students to the site as often as possible and aim to have a number of things running through the blog. One of these is to offer students the chance to work out which literary characters we are pretending to be as we write our own versions of tweets for the characters we have chosen. I will giving students tips on the process of creative writing - I was once a published poet don't you know!! Our english teacher will be giving info about gcse and a level texts and we will be keeping students up to date with what we are reading as well as offering up any good websites that they may find useful in their study of english lit.
Its going to be a very refreshing use of technology and something that will hopefully grow within the school!!
If you want to take a look visit litexperience.wordpress.com

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Kid's Lit Quiz

We took our two teams last night to the regional finals of the quiz and our students did really well. Although they didn't come in the top 3 their overall knowledge of books was fantastic. For my liking the quiz was aimed more at the classic side of children's fiction rather than the more exciting contemporary stuff which I promote highly in the library and thus gave an advantage to those schools whose libraries don't have as much newer stock but get students to read the 'classics'. It certainly is a shame that there was really no questions of books published more recently that the last 5-10 years as there certainly is so much good stuff out there. Luckily we do go into the quiz with our eyes open and the students went to take part and enjoy themselves rather than to be ultra-competitive. We still plan on taking part next year but I will still make sure that we promote all the great new stuff in our library and hope that they manage to update their questions for next year!!

Monday, 16 November 2009

London Meeting

I was at Scholastic on friday for a very hush hush secret meeting. It went exceedingly well indeed and I even left with a lovely cinnamon bun for my journey home. The weather was pretty rubbish but luckily the offices are just across the road road from Euston so I managed to stay pretty dry fo the whole journey - except for when I got back home!
The prject that I am working on with Scholastic is a very exciting one and although I am trying my very best to keep it a secret at Conference 2010 I will be making an announcement as to what it is going to entail. For know though all I will say is that 2010 is going to be a brilliant year!!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Kid's Lit Quiz

We had our schools final of the Kid's Lit Quiz in school today. For the last month or so we have running different rouns for students in yrs7and8 to compete against each other on their knowledge of books. The final had 11 teams who had scored the highest through the earlier rounds all competing for two places in the regional final for the South East and London to be held next week.
I was really pleased with how well all the teams did and it was an extremely close result. The winning group won by just one point and we have 3 teams tied in second. We ended up having to do a tie breaker - which was about the only i hadn't planned for!!
It really was a great day though and the two groups going through to the final I'm sure will do really well.
Running the event in school has been an excellent addition to our calendar of work in the library. It has livened up our autumn term and giving us another way of getting students to interact with books. Wish us luck for the regional final!!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Spooky Tunes

OMG as my students would say!! Sunday afternoon the University of Herts was treated to one of the most musical, illustratative (not even a word but hey ho!!) highlights of the year. James Mayhew and the University of Herts Philharmonic Orchestra put on an amazing show of classical music, story telling and illustration. James illustrated and told the stories as the orchestra played in the background filling the auditorium with a sense of awe. Both young and old joined as James especially put on a show that I will remember for a long time, and I'm sure others will to.
It is the third year that we have run this event as a book group and every year it keeps getting better. It's a great way to introduce children to classical music and others to the world of illustration and story telling - something that put together in this format is so electric.
I for one am certainly looking forward to next year!!!

Friday Meeting

I had a really good meeting on friday wiith the ladies from Puffin. We were looking at ways in which the FCBG can work with Puffin in the next year to help celebrate Puffin's 70th anniversary. It was really to get down to London, a place that I adore and where my family are all from, and to spend time talking about books and organising exciting projects that we can work on. We had a great discussion and hopefully a lot of really good stuff is going to come from it. A big thank you to Tania and Kirsten for making me feel so welcome too!!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Reading Research

Research carried out by Booktrust has shown an increase in children saying that they enjoy reading. It also highlighted that children felt they were distracted by television and computer games, which is something that I think we all know anyway! What i found quite interesting was that around 74% of children said that they liked to chose their own books which I think is very encouraging. As much as I love to shout about and tell people about new books I love it even more when they come to me and tell what they like and are very fimr in their choices. It gives me a chance to talk to them on a different level about why they choose the books they do and then this can lead into giving them advice about other books they may enjoy.
Another slightly more worrying point was that only 5% of children would go on what their dads told them to read. Obviously there could be a number of reasons for this but from my experience it is mostly because there is a lack of male role models who read for children. We are very lucky in our school as we have three male english teachers who are all readers and encourage the kids to read as well. This though is not the same everywhere. I've worked in schools where there are no male english teachers and you can see the effect that it has. If a child grows up without knowing that its ok for boys to like, enjoy reading because they don't see the male figures in their lives doing it, it does have a detrimental effect on them.
But it is the same all over, all children need to see positive reading role models whether they are male or female. Now whether of not you believe that there is a problem with boys reading, we can't just look at one area and improve that only to find in the future that we have neglected all the other areas and now there is a problem with them. We need to make sure that we are always tuned into everyone's reading tastes and habits, providing in the book world a non-discriminative view point on age, sex, race, culture because as soon as we start catergorising things we break things down into groups and not everyone fits into a group. When we truly view reading as something for everyone and don't try to put labels on things then we will see a change in the whole rather than the spectrum. It may not sound radical to some but it does require people to think differently.