End of Term Initiative

Yesterday was the last day of term at Oasis Academy Enfield and, to continue the ‘reading for pleasure’ bug, I felt that I needed an initiative for staff because, let’s face it, it is the Summer holidays which represent the most likely time any of us get to read for pleasure!

Books as Presents

Last week I invited all staff across the Academy to take part in the Surprise Summer Read, in which they could volunteer to take a book home for the Summer picked by me, especially for them.  The book could be a complete surprise, or they could give me a hint as to the sort of books they normally enjoy reading, and I would choose something based on their tip.  The point would be, however, that they would get a great, teen/young adult novel to read over the Summer holiday and, in return, each person would write a short review of a couple of lines on a postcard on what they thought of the book.  This postcard would then help to form a display in the new academic year (more on that in a minute).

So, yesterday I wrapped and delivered 25 books to staff across the Academy, some of which are pictured below.  The books were a mix of Carnegie and other short-listed and award-winning books, along with a selection of other fantastic books that I thought would give readers an insight into some of the fantastic fiction being written for, and read by, our young people.

I envisaged that some staff would see what was happening and want a book too, and so I took along with me some pre-wrapped books with a word on the front to sum-up the book, such as Once  by Morris Gleitzman, with sad written on the front.  These seven books also got handed out too along the way, taking our grand total of books given out to 32!

Surprise Summer Reads wrapped and ready to be delivered

Happy Smiley People

The response was fantastic, with everyone reacting with delight at having a wrapped-up book for them to take home, along with excitement and anticipation at what the book would be.  The fact that I was able to deliver the books when many staff were with their Learning Families (form groups) meant that lots of students were there to witness their teachers’ reactions, therefore providing a great model to them and hopefully inspiring them a little too.

Mr Groarke's tweet about his Surprise Summer Read
Mr Groarke’s tweet about his Surprise Summer Read

Role Models

The next step is, in September, to reverse it and invite students to volunteer to take part.  The same books as staff have read will be used, and all students who volunteer will get one of the books read over the Summer by an adult from the school as a surprise read.  Once these books are handed out, I will create a display in the Library, as well as electronically via plasmas across the Academy, of the postcards written by staff, along with a picture of each of them with their book so that pupils can see who has read the book they have begun to read, and talk with them about it.  Once they read the book, their review will be displayed alongside the staff-member’s review too and we will have a great example of teachers and pupil both modelling, and sharing reading.

This will set us up for the new academic year with momentum from the Summer, ensuring the message is loud and clear  that reading for pleasure is fun, something to share and that it can bring people together.