World Book Day

Colleagues

Thank you for your endeavours this week. We are halfway through the half term and I recognise that it’s a tough old haul; especially when there are lots of other things happening beyond the school and college day.

Depending upon when you are reading this, it will either be International Women’s Day (with the theme ‘Investing in women: Accelerate progress’), or it could be Mother’s Day (with a possible theme of ‘Just be nice’). I’ll make mention of both and acknowledge the importance of those days in encouraging us all to think differently, and occasionally behave better.

However, I feel it’s best this week to make than a mention of World Book Day. This important day (week) in our academic calendar, and widely recognised across the country, has been celebrated and recognised a different way in each and every one of our institutions. We do that with good humour and with an eye to encouraging all of our children and young people to, not only read, but to become fluent enough to enjoy reading.  Educationally there are few things more important. And it’s incumbent upon us all to take responsibility for teaching and encouraging our children and young people to have love of literature.

To be frank, reading should be at the heart of everything we do. Reading should drive everything we do. Reading should be at the centre of our whole curriculum offer. We all, including our children and young people, understand the importance of reading and the benefits it brings. We adults, whether we work in school, college or are parents, really must encourage the children and young people to talk about their reading with passion. We do that by talking about our reading with a passion.

It’s been lovely to see an enriched and enriching curriculum and extra-curriculum offer this past week. Much of what I saw wasn’t that much more than the day by day provision; occasionally delivered with a little more verve. We’ve had colleagues recommending their favourite books to other staff and to the pupils and students. We’ve had book launches, where we share new authors or new texts. We’ve seen some work done to dispel the myths around what is valuable literature by a sharing of the wealth of modern literary genres – sorry Sci-Fi’s not for me.

Through this we can ignite a passion and interest in (children’s) literature, and this in turn will have a life-long positive impact on our communities.

I read a great phrase this week; which might be something we should embrace: Get stuck-in, not stuck. The sentiment being that we all should just give it a go. Whatever the literature, whatever the genre (even Sci-Fi), we should just embrace. To read and dismiss is better than not picking up that book, that magazine, reading that webpage, and so on.

I’ve got no doubts that our children and young people are motivated by what we do. I do ‘bang on’ about culture. It’s what shapes everything we do. Our culture, how we project, and what we hold to be true, is our backbone, the foundation, the touchstone, and from this everything else will follow. We promote a culture in reading, in enjoying reading and in the motivation to develop a life-long love of reading. In turn, this culture promotes an enjoyment of learning, ensures positive academic outcomes, makes for well-rounded adults, shapes aspirations and grows self-confidence. In turn, we see better attendance, classroom engagement, positivity and better behaviour – in the classroom and around the school and college site.

We’ve had so much positivity but our reading for pleasure journey is far from over; it isn’t and shouldn’t be about World Book Day. Over the coming days, coming months, we will work to build a momentum and continue to try more things to further encourage all of our love of reading. Within this trust, within our schools and the college we’re committed to continuing to educate and motivate our pupils, students and adults to read for pleasure.

‘You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them’. Ray Bradbury

‘The cool thing about reading is that when you read a short story or you read something that takes your mind and expands where your thoughts can go, that’s powerful’. Taylor Swift

Whatever this weekend brings, please enjoy; rest up, relax and rejuvenate.