How BookTrust Represents author visits support schools to build their reading cultures

Published on: 28 November 2022

Through BookTrust Represents, Year Sevens at Babington Academy in Leicester had the opportunity to meet Sue Cheung, author of Chinglish. Tina Milton, Reading Champion and Library Assistant at the school tells us what the author visit meant for the pupils and how the school champions a wider culture of reading.  

Author Sue Cheung and Tina Milton at Babington SchoolAuthor Sue Cheung and Tina Milton at Babington Academy

The BookTrust Represents author visit  

“The school author visit was great and the students really loved it. We chose students who we don’t see in the library often or who don’t borrow books very much to meet the author. Sue was just fantastic. It was really good to meet her and hear her talk about her journey. After the author visit there was a great buzz around reading. All the students in the group received personalised signed copies of the book and they've all been reading it.  

Diversity, inclusion and representation in the school library 

“We have a well-stocked library which includes an inclusive range of books and representation is very important to us. We've got a really good selection of LGBTQ+ books. We look at the authors on the shelves to make sure we've got good representation. This is particularly important because we are a very multicultural school. Our students want to see themselves represented. 

How reading fits with the wider curriculum  

“The key thing to building a culture of reading in school is getting everybody in the school on board with it – not just the English department. We want to make it nice and easy for our colleagues to bring reading in whenever they can.  

We’re always looking for things we can use across the curriculum to support reading. Books that we can take to the head of department and let them know that it fits in with what they’re teaching. The school is very busy and we don’t always have time to research books for the library as much as we’d like. We use the BookTrust website regularly and find the book lists are very useful. And, of course, we always appreciate the free books.  

Building a culture of reading at Babington  

“The most important thing to build a reading culture is just giving the students the time and the space to read. We’re working hard to make the library as inviting and fun as possible, such as a new display to make sure they can see all the new books that they can borrow.  

Teachers as reading role models 

“The students are expected to read for the first 10 minutes of every English lesson. Once a fortnight, the bell goes, it can be any lesson, and everyone just takes out a book and reads. This includes the teachers because they need to be reading role models too.  

Getting parents involved 

Getting parents on board is an important part of building a wider reading culture in the school, but it can be quite tough. Our Literacy Co-ordinator does a literacy newsletter that goes home as well – to keep the parents informed.  

Babington Academy is part of the Learning without Limits Academy Trust. 40% of the students in the school receive free school meals and are eligible for the pupil premium funding.  

To find out more about the impact school author visits have on students' motivations to read, read our latest report.