Start the Story highlights

Published on: 25 January 2018 Author: Lizzie Cain

17 Start the Story events

9 cities across England

34 different speakers

413 school librarians, teachers and other practitioners

Secondary Event


A huge thank you to all 413 reading for pleasure enthusiasts who came along to one of our free Start the Story events at the end of last year! The BookTrust team had a wonderful few weeks touring England to share more about our work and discussing how to create connections through reading.

Each event featured different speakers, all of whom are already running their own successful reading for pleasure initiatives in schools. From pop-up bookshops, to a Big Little Library, attendees came away buzzing with new ideas to get their students, families and fellow staff excited about reading. Those who heard from former School Librarian of the Year and Blue Peter judge Amy McKay even came away with the skills to survive a Zombie Apocalypse – not something you learn in the library every day!

How to survive a zombie apocalypse

"I was challenged to rethink some strategies to reach different kinds of readers. Lots of good ideas to try out." - School Librarian, Exeter

We've already heard from lots of attendees who've been inspired to start building their own reading communities in school through creating social media accounts for the school library, getting involved in local book awards, establishing reading ambassador schemes and bringing younger and older students together to read with each other.

Primary Event
These ideas are all brilliant, but for me, the best thing about the Start the Story series was the opportunity to bring together so many dedicated librarians, teachers and other school staff. In amongst the budget cuts and the league tables are passionate practitioners who are determined that every child should have the chance to experience the joys of reading for pleasure.

"It is really great to hear that a lot of the problems I face are common ones and there are solutions to these. I have a page and half(!) of ideas I intend to take back to Head of English and Senior Leadership Team." - School Librarian, Portsmouth

They're the ones who are working hard, day in and day out, to provide the support and encouragement children need to find the right book for them and spark that love of reading which will see them through for the rest of their lives.


We know there are lots more librarians and teachers out there who couldn't join us to Start the Story, so we're going to be sharing some of the best ideas from the series here on the BookTrust website over the coming months. While we can't quite recreate the opportunity to chat over tea and biscuits, we can build our own reading community online! Get involved @BookTrust using the hashtag #StartTheStory and let us know what you're doing to create reading connections in your school.

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