I have been meaning to blogÂ about an idea for ‘teachread’ for days. Last week I was lucky enough to run a course for Literacy consultants on the use of picture books in the Primary classrooms and found that, as usual, I had a wonderful time talking about new picture books but also moved onto discussing ‘killer’ books. What we meant by killer books were those of which the delegates thought that all teachers should be aware as they would grab children by the mind. As teachers many of us can point to the time when a teacher showed us the world of reading and the wonders which lay within it. Unfortunately, some of us can also remember a time in our lives when reading became nothing more than a chore or mechanistic act devoid of joy, awe or exploration.Â We spent time on the course sharing books which would bring this joy to children in our area.
At the same time as this I was tweeting about books and the response from my PLN was so positive that I posed the question whether there was a call for some form of discussion on twitter or through a blog / wiki of books. The response was immediate and positive with offers of support, lists of books and even setting up a blog site. I did a trawl of twitter looking for an equivalent and couldnâ€™t find anything that provided a space for teachers, teaching assistants, librarians, parents, grandparents and those generally interested in childrenâ€™s literature to chat about or share the titles of great books.
As I tweeted with members of my PLN about books I began to clarify my vision of how it could work in my own mind. At present I blog fairly irregularly about books which could be used to support teaching in specific years or to support specific topics and sometimes find myself regretting that, at times, my posts are missing a genuine sense of awe about the way in which a book is written or the impact that the book has had on me or a child reading it.
I will never forget reading the wonderful book Shadow of the Minotaur by Alan Gibbons and being unable to allow myself to sleep until I finished it at 2 in the morning. (Indeed in 2000 it won the Blue Peter book award in the â€˜book I couldnâ€™t put downâ€™ category.) Â I donâ€™t want to turn this into a glorified book review so will move on but what I am looking for is to develop a buzz around books using Twitter. The idea would be that rather, as at present, focusing on how the book could be used for teaching I want to focus on good books which will fire children up.
I am aware that there are discussion groups on Twitter such as #edchat (on Tuesdays) and #ukedchat (on Thursday nights 8-9pm BST) if you are not aware of #ukedchat please take two minutes to visit http://ukedchat.wikispaces.com/ I think that a different way to run it would be to have the hashtag #teachread and encourage to post on Wednesdays without having an organised discussion time. I would just love to see a day where people drop in when and where they can.
Obviously I am a Primary Practitioner so my experience and personal interest would take me from board boards aimed at babies up to books used in Key Stage 3 but I am hoping that the idea of teachread will soon expand across all ages driven by those tweeting and the books suggested.
I would love to know what people think. I am looking at using a blog or wiki to collect all of the suggestions made. I even am beginning to suspect that the title of the conversation is wrong and should be joyread, readnow, ourbooks or something else. I would love to know what you think – let me know!
I have also created a voicethread for people to leave comments on – the intention was to embed it into this blog post but I am not wise enough to work out what I am doing wrong so a link will have to suffice!!