A school's experience of running Chatterbooks
1 February 2012 / 0 Comments
Chatterbooks started in public libraries, but it works in all kinds of settings. For schools it is an ideal way to keep up reading momentum and enjoyment, supporting reading recovery work, and expanding children's reading.
Pam Barnes, headteacher at Devonshire Primary School in Bolton, has been running Chatterbooks for a term now. She says "Chatterbooks was a huge success with my Year Six group. It encouraged them to read books they would otherwise not have dreamed of trying, including some very challenging reads. It was fabulous to hear them enthusing over their reading and recommending books to other pupils; it definitely had a positive effect on other pupils' reading as well as their own. The Chatterbooks materials helped set up the club as something special - they all loved their bag of goodies and I made good use of the ideas that Chatterbooks provides. I think the Chatterbooks branding also helped it to appeal to a diverse range of pupils; 30% of my group were boys, for example, and 50% spoke English as an additional language."
Pam got great feedback from the children about how much more reading they had done as a result of the Chatterbooks group, and she plans to continue the group as a lunchtime reading group, whilst starting another 8-10 week group shortly.
Devonshire Primary's ideas for things to do in a Chatterbooks group
Book themed treasure hunts were very popular with the children. Pam says:
"I did one of these after we had read Lemony Snickett`s Bad Beginnings and hid things around the school related to the book, such as Mr Poe`s white handkerchief and a jar of anchovies to make puttanesca sauce. The group requested another one for our last session and I tried to do items for each book we had read (so jelly babies for the Karen McCrombie one!).
They also enjoyed a couple of sessions on "Don't judge a book by its cover... or do you??" which we did because the Karen McCrombie book cover was so pink and girly I actually didn't want to read it! Then when I did, it was brilliant. I wrapped up about 16 books in plain brown paper and put the blurbs from the actual books on the back and they had to choose their top three just from that. The following week they looked at the unwrapped books and chose from the title and cover only- which was very interesting!"
If you run a Chatterbooks group - do get in touch - we would love to hear about what you are doing and any tips you would like to share.