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Creating passionate readers: the Teacher Effect

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Claire Williams is a teacher at St. Andrews COE Primary School. This is her Teacher Effect story.

One of my greatest passions as a teacher is instilling a love of reading in the children I teach, so when one of the children in my class told me that he reads because he has to it was a real eye opener for me. He would look to anyone like he was engaged, that he was loving it, but what he was actually saying to me was there were so many other things that he’d rather be doing.

I’ve been involved with the Open University ‘Teachers as Readers’ development work, which explores how we support reading for pleasure in our classrooms and in our schools. Being involved with this made me take a step back and reflect on what reading looks like in my classroom environment.

No-one would choose to sit bolt upright reading a book at their desk, they’d want to curl up on the sofa, so I worked with the children to give them ownership of their reading spaces in the classroom. Children who found it really, really hard to sit in their place and read are now tucked away under my desk or in a quiet corner. As soon as that reluctant child had an experience of reading where he associated it with something he enjoyed doing, it led to him making much broader, more adventurous reading choices. All of the children are now talking a lot more about the things they’re reading and making recommendations to each other.

In the last week of term, the class had earned their treat and what was voted for, above watching DVDs or water fights or anything else was independent reading time! So we had hot chocolate and they brought in their blankets and cushions to make it comfortable and we had an hour where they were just sat reading - they were just completely engrossed in what they were doing.

I couldn’t love my job anymore and 99% of days I finish ready and raring to go the next day. But, there is that occasional day where something’s gone wrong, my confidence has been knocked and I can feel like I’ve not done quite as good a job as I’d want to. Teaching can be like a rollercoaster and you’ve got to have the resilience to climb back up to that next peak again if you’ve had a dip.

To see more stories like Claire's, visit: Teacher Effect


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