Recent research proves that the most powerful place for a young person’s reading journey to take off is at home! We want all Charter School students and their families to understand the benefits and joys of reading for pleasure in our busy and often stressful lives. We know students’ home reading culture is the key factor in whether they enjoy reading or not, so we aim to bring whole families – often those who are harder to reach in the community – into our School Library.
By inviting small groups of our lower-literacy and often EAL students and their families to fun half-termly parties in the School Library, we create a sense of belonging and understanding between the family and books. To improve families’ access to books, we provide the exact books the students and adults have requested for them to borrow, and we give away free books at every meeting. To build interest in books, we invite a popular author to speak during every project, and we give free signed copies of his or her books to all the group.
To build confidence in reading and using the Library, we set exciting challenges and competitions, and we give prizes and awards to all participants. To generate an ethos of fun and wellbeing within the Library, we provide party food and drink and we create a buzz around the project, making it something students are proud to participate in.
To encourage positive family relationships at the start of secondary school when many young people are becoming more independent, we ask students and their parents/carers to work together and share ideas, while remaining unassessed in a supportive group setting.