A couple of weeks ago as part of the #SLTChat topic, strategies for improving whole school literacy, I posted the pictured tweet.
As this was something that has been done at our school for the entire time that I’ve been there, I didn’t give it a second thought. It did seem to catch the attention of a fair number of people, retweeted a number of times (18 and continues to be) and, sad though I clearly am, I counted up the number of people due to the retweets that it had reached: 12604! The beauty and wonder that is Twitter.
I’m very keen at this point to underline the fact that this isn’t my idea. It is run by our Librarian, Suzie Evans, who spearheads a huge number of literacy initiatives of which this is but one. So, in response the variety of requests I received for more detail on the strategy I thought that there could be nothing better than a guest post from Suzie herself. Here it is:
“The idea for Catch Your Teacher Reading originated from a desperate attempt to ensure that those students who unfortunately are not around adult readers at home are presented with reading role models in school. The idea is simple, teachers from all subjects ‘hide’ (or are in fact strategically placed) in various areas of the school and read for the lunch hour. These hiding places often include busy areas of the school like the entrance hall, canteen and the library to further promote our reading role models to older students.
Students are set the challenge of finding each teacher in the quickest time in order to win a prize. However, it is not that simple, students are presented with a map of the school and a Catch Your Teacher Reading sheet that asks for each of the teachers names, location and books so that we can be sure the students has found every teacher correctly and have them hopefully initiate a discussion about what it is the teacher is reading. You don’t win unless you have all the names and book titles!
Once students reach secondary school age, World Book Day can often pale into insignificance, organising Catch Your Teacher Reading for lunch time on this day meant that we could further promote reading and add significance to the Catch Your Teacher Reading event.
In the three years we have been running this event it has grown and grown, with more teachers volunteering and many more students taking part, even Year 9 students return each year to take part! On the back of Catch Your Teacher Reading’s success we have also organised other treasure hunt style reading events like a National Poetry Day Challenge for Year 7 and a Big School Read Challenge for our Reading Champions that have each been very successful. Let’s hope this year is bigger and better than before!”
And there it is. It is as simple as that.
Suzie, I think, downplays slightly her impact here. This is only one of the array of initiatives that she pushes with the kids. She is an expert in using Accelerated Reader (who retweeted HER idea) to improve reading ages and is as encyclopaedic as is possible in terms of locating books to entice the most reluctant of readers. In short, we couldn’t do Literacy, particularly reading, and particularly at a whole school level without her.