Thirty ways to kill reading

Whilst sorting through the non-fiction books last week I came across a book from 1989 titled Reading Alive! targeted at teachers and librarians. Although dated, I am planning to use some of the alternatives to book reviews next year. What really spoke to me though was the list of Thirty Ways To Kill Reading and I was shocked that we actually do some of these in our library!

I won’t go through all thirty but these are the ones I am guilty of:

1. Colour code books so that everyone is aware of how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ they are at reading. Don’t let anyone choose a book that is ‘too easy’ or ‘too hard.’ With Accelerated Reader we have to give the students a level and the easiest way for them to find the books on their level is to put them all on the same shelf. So if you are 3.6 there is a shelf of books just for you. Our pupils can take any book to read at home but in school they have to read their Accelerated Reader book. If we didn’t run AR then perhaps it would be different…

2. Never discard books that are dirty or tattered. Hmm, my colleague would do this but I have ‘rescued’ many books from the bin! It’s partly due to my thriftiness and partly because the story doesn’t change just because the cover is dated and a few pages are loose! Yes, kids would prefer to pick up a new shiny book but, as I’ve seen with the golden ticket promotion, they will read (and enjoy) old and tattered books if there is an incentive.

3. Remember only infants have carpets and cushions in book corners. No-one over eight should be able to find somewhere comfortable to read in school. At present we have sofas and some bucket chairs but the majority of our seating is standard school chairs. I would love to have big floor cushions or bean bags but I just don’t feel behaviour is at that point yet where they will be used correctly. Perhaps in six months after the academy trust have made their changes, we will look at this again.

Hmm, that wasn’t too bad; I thought there were more than that! I think we do a decent job in the library but the school overall leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to promoting reading. In secondary schools there is so much pressure to get those magic five GCSEs that reading for pleasure gets left behind. I can think of lots of things we could try as school-wide initiatives to promote reading but, as they would take up precious class time, they are over before they can begin which is a real shame.

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One thought on “Thirty ways to kill reading

  1. I came across this book also a couple of years ago and agree there are some great ideas in there. Know what you mean about no2 on your list, we had a literacy professional come into our library and said we should get rid of some classics like Wizard of Oz, Anne of Green Gables etc, needless to say I refused!

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