Sharing is Caring

By Margaret Allen, Strategic Education Manager

After what can only be described as an extremely busy yet rewarding week, I’ve found a little bit of time to reflect on all the very different areas which can contribute to a positive reading culture… And one thing that has stood out across them all is something that as a Primary school teacher, a parent and a grandparent, I’ve encouraged children to do… which is share.

Now, we might have ‘Care Bears’ to thank for the mantra ‘sharing is caring’ (which I have to confess, I‘ve often used when reminding children of the importance of sharing with others), but the fact remains that sharing is an excellent way to learn, to broaden access to resources and ultimately foster a positive teaching environment.

In the last week alone I’ve visited a School Library Service (SLS) in Essex, a Teach Meet in Marlborough and joined a session with a Federation of Small Schools in Buckinghamshire. From each and every one of these I’ve taken away a top tip for sharing – which I want to share with you.

1. Sharing Ideas
Taking its role beyond the provision of books and support of schools using the Accelerated Reader programme, this SLS has been especially innovative in sharing ideas with schools on how to encourage reading for pleasure and develop a positive reading culture. How are you working with your SLS? Could you be doing more with them than simply borrowing books?

2. Sharing Best Practice
It’s been a while since I last attended a Teach Meet and this session reminded me what a valuable forum they provide. Following the theme of ‘Transition’, I talked about the benefits of using Accelerated Reader to facilitate the reading transition from Primary to Secondary school. Most interestingly, this sparked a lot of discussion amongst the attendees who were able to take this a step further and share their own experiences on how best to manage the transition. When was the last time you discussed reading and transition with your Secondary schools?

3. Sharing Resources
As very small schools having to work to extremely tight budgets, this Small School Federation had some great initiatives in place to make the most of ‘strength in numbers’. When it came to reading and offering children breadth of choice, they have developed a scheme which enables them to ‘pool’ their library stock and improve purchasing power. Could there be an option for a book sharing scheme with any of your neighbouring Primary schools?

And in the spirit of sharing, I feel it’s only right that I also share something with you too. Looking ahead to the next few months, I’ll be visiting schools and running a series of User Group meetings for Primary schools using Accelerated Reader, where my plan is to share ideas and best practice on how to encourage reading for pleasure but at the same time tick the assessment boxes.

Alternatively, if you’re interested in hosting your own User Group meeting or don’t currently use AR but would like to meet colleagues from other schools who do, then please drop me a line at: usergroups@renlearn.co.uk

Now on that happy note, I’ll say goodbye for now – I’m desperately in need of a rest after this busy week!

Margaret Allen
Strategic Education Manager

Margaret Allen is Strategic Education Manager for Primary schools at Renaissance Learning. She uses practical experience from her time teaching in primary classrooms to help teachers across the UK to get the most out of Accelerated Reader.

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