By Claire Senior
This book is a one-stop-shop of practical ideas, which provides a wealth of information for anyone who wants to promote reading among students of all abilities, including teachers who, like myself, are not English specialists.
The section on Creating a Reader Friendly School encourages you first to carry out an audit of your school, for example, how often do we encourage all subject areas to promote reading? Claire Senior makes it easy by suggesting fiction titles which can be used within certain subject areas. She argues that if we want our children to become readers for life we must be prepared to "revisit the place for private reading in the curriculum".
To encourage children on their reading journey, she emphasises the importance of providing all types of reading materials, including non-fiction, comics and magazines, as well as subject-specific titles. One interesting idea is to invite local bookshops to sell books at parental consultation evenings.
The author's enthusiasm is infectious. Although many of the ideas are not new, this is an authoritative book with a friendly and encouraging tone, which will keep reading at the forefront of the curriculum. If we want to follow her example, we must be willing to keep up with recent publications - the appendix offers an informative and contemporary booklist and useful websites - and share our experiences with the students through displays, use of the school intranet, the internet and shared reading.
My only criticism is the derogatory series title, which I find disrespectful to all students. I prefer to think of my students as "open books" for whom we need to keep turning the pages.
Rosanne Bartlett is assistant head with responsibility for learning and curriculum support at Earls High School, Halesowen and chair of the Federation of Children's Book Groups