Diana Gerald: What makes an eager reader?
Our CEO talks about a magical place to help children read for pleasure…
What is it that turns a child’s head so that they stop seeing reading as a chore and begin to see it as one of the best gifts they’ve been given?
There are lots of answers to that question, but one that stands out is ‘the right book’. And by ‘right’ I mean ‘right for that boy or girl at that particular time’. It might be a book that speaks to a child in a moment of pain or fear; it might be a book that makes a child laugh when they really need to; it could be a book that gets a child thinking about the world in a different way; it could be a book that makes a child believe anything is possible. It might be a graphic novel, it might be a classic novel; it might be a fairy tale, it might be a comedy, or it might be a gritty urban story. Frankly none of that matters; what’s important is that someone, somewhere, reads it and is hooked.
When I was at school, the school library was the place we went to find brilliant books; it was the school librarian who pressed books into our hands and said ‘trust me, you’ll love it’ (she was always right). But too many school libraries are now facing budget cuts, threatening their ability to stock the book that will transform a child’s life.
Which is why Book Trust’s School Library Pack is so important.
The pack contains 40 new books that we have carefully chosen to appeal to a broad selection of children – whether reluctant readers or gifted and talented children and everything in between – along with a range of helpful resources to help librarians really engage and excite their young readers.
The pack is provided free to schools by Book Trust, but schools need to register for it (last year 4,700 schools registered). We also have a pack for special schools, which contains 10 new books for SEN children plus a colourful poster and a helpful guide designed to support schools in making the most of the books.
Those schools who have used the pack have been overwhelmingly positive about its impact. One librarian told us:
The pack has been very well thought out and there is an excellent choice of reading material for a range of ability. I have been using the packs for the three years since I have been at the school and the majority of pupils' reading has been revolutionised. I use the books in our quiet reading sessions on a Friday and all the pupils are excited and expectant when the new pack is due to arrive.
It’s just one of the ways that Book Trust works tirelessly to ensure that children have every opportunity to develop a love of reading.
Because having the right book at the right time might just change a child’s life. As we like to say at Book Trust, ‘it’s not a book, it’s a door way’. We want to open as many of those doors as possible.