Celebrating the world of books? Here's how to do it

4 tips for inspiring a love of books and reading - none of which involves dressing up

Adam Black

Celebrating the world of books? Here's how to do it

Book Week Scotland is coming up on 18-24 November, which is a fabulous time to encourage reading and promote all that is special about books.

It’s also a good way to inspire your whole school community – and  remember, you don’t have to get everyone to dress up.

Here are my four top tips:

1. Engage with an author

What a wonderful thing to set up for your class: a real opportunity to meet an author and hear from them. Growing up in Glasgow, I don’t remember ever being exposed to authors of any books and I had long periods of childhood where I wasn’t engaged in reading. Meeting an author and hearing from them, their passion and energy, could have really struck a chord with me. It’s an event that children may remember all the way into adulthood.

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2. Book fair or book swap

This is an opportunity to expose children to new authors or styles of books they possibly haven’t previously considered. The book fairs that were too expensive for many families back in the day still exist, but they are now accompanied with book swaps and "book ‘n’ blether" events which are free or inexpensive. If you’ve missed an opportunity to book any of these for your class, get in touch with your local library to arrange a trip and ask for recommendations of a range of books.

3. Film

In the run-up to Book Week Scotland, why not choose a text that has a film to accompany it, to show children that many great films start with great books – something lots of children don’t realise. It can also be a good way to engage the whole school, if you choose a book that can be investigated in different ways for different year groups.

4. Call on families

Book Week Scotland can be an excellent way to invite families into the school, maybe by asking them to host a film night based on a book adaptation. If you have parents who are bilingual then why not ask them to do a book reading in both languages? Do you have a parent who is a graphic designer and could they do a talk on using imagery to create illustrations? Why not invite in grandparents to talk about their favourite book as a child and see if it still fires the imaginations of children today? There are loads of opportunities to link up families and learning.

It might be a nice idea to keep costumes out of schools and save that for World Book Day 2020 – there are lots of other ways to make books special for children.

Adam Black is a primary teacher in Scotland who, in the New Year's Honours List, received the British Empire Medal for raising awareness of stammering

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