The Primary English team in the Institute of Education at St Mary’s University, Twickenham have been leading a Teachers Reading Group (TRG) as part of Open University and United Kingdom Literacy Association (OU/UKLA) initiative to support over 100 virtual teachers reading groups across the UK and beyond in 2021.
The group has a total of 20 primary school teachers from across London, with many being St Mary’s alumni. The propose was to promote reading for pleasure in schools (RfP). The University has been working with a range of schools to aid with their school development projects by providing free evidence–based CPD for teachers to enrich their understanding of RfP and how to support it.
The TRG has four aims: to foster children’s reading for pleasure through supporting teachers’ /members’ own RfP and research-informed practice; to support the profession by building a professional community around RfP locally and online; to share teachers’ resultant development work on the OU RfP website and to build communities of readers: Teachers who Read and Readers who Teach.
Members of the TRG have been working on small action research inquiries to promote reading for pleasure in their school which has been discussed in group sessions. The discussions centred around broadening the range of authors we read and use with children, and the benefits of reading for pleasure; diversity in children’s literature in content and authors; social justice in children’s literature; and Graphic novels and comics.
Local Richmond Bookshop the Alligator’s Mouth attended each session and supplied a range of suggested reading related to each theme which have been collated onto a St Mary’s TRG padlet.
There will be a final presentation held on campus in the Waldegrave Drawing Room on 9th June at 4:15-6:30pm to celebrate the teachers’ projects. Senior leaders of the Insititute of Education with be in attendance, together with headteachers and senior school leaders from the participating schools.
The Primary English team said of the event “Working with teachers across zoom has been a delight and their enthusiasm and commitment has been inspiring. Although zoom meetings have worked brilliantly, we are really looking forward to holding our final session face to face and celebrating and sharing reading for pleasure school-based research inquiries together.”