I was so pleased when Hope Toms-Fitzgerald, the Reading Champion at Mowmacre Hill Primary School near Leicester, asked if I would come and visit the school for the day and open the new library. Ans so I did, a couple of weeks ago. Where has the time gone?
Hope and her army of helpers have been working away at this wonderful project for over two years, raising funds and turning a cold, jumbled storeroom into a warm, friendly and inviting library for the children of the school.
Hope truly is a Reading Champion! The only way to learn to read is to read. Knowing all the ins and outs of grammar may score you marks on some Ofsted scoresheet, but true literacy comes from the process of actually reading a lot of text. Books are still the dest delivery vehicle for that process.
The way to engage new (and reluctant) readers is to give them a choice of wonderful and engaging books that will get their attention and turn them into readers. There is nothing like a school library for raising reading levels. Not grammar testing, not iPads, not websites, just a plain, good old-fashioned library full of books that make you want to read, that entertain, thrill, educate and maybe even make you cry.
To become truly literate, the words need to be screwed down on the page, not dancing around and singing to you. To become truly literate, you need to witness language being used at its best, to see how words strung together evoke mood, character, place and emotion as well as providing information. Reading is not an exercise in syntax. The very best writing tends to break the rules of grammar anyway.
So well done Hope and well done Mowmacre Hill. It was a pleasure to visit and an honour to cut the ribbon and declare the library open for business!
Pictures from Mowmacre Hill – thanks!