Reading for Pleasure conference

Val Sawyer and Kath Fox, TRG leaders from Newark, share their thoughts on the recent OU/UKLA Reading for Pleasure conference.

On 17th November, 160 teachers, teacher educators, librarians and researchers gathered at the University of Cambridge for our OU conference in collaboration with UKLA. 

It was a packed day and began with a welcome story from Teresa Cremin who drew on research evidence to remind us that, as well as multiple other benefits, the association between Reading for Pleasure and success in formal education still persists!

Sonia Thompson from Birmingham, standing in for Jon Biddle, enthused us all, explaining 'The St. Matthews effect' and how reading had been made paramount at her school.  Sonia was involved in the Teachers as Readers research and her school won the Egmont, OU and UKLA RfP Award 2018.  She explained that their unrelenting focus on reading for pleasure included supporting book ownership, involving parents, making time for reading to children and much more besides, so that the young learners feel "hugged by reading"!  She showed us their statistics too and made it clear it is having an amazing impact there as well. 

Workshops, mostly led by OU/UKLA Teachers' Reading Group leaders, offered us time to discuss issues, and myriad examples of research-informed practice related to poetry, non-fiction, RfP pedagogy, reader-relationships, immersion in texts and the hidden messages we communicate to children about reading.

The non-fiction panel reminded us that quality non-fiction texts are just as appealing as fiction and Kiran Millwood Hargrave busted two myths: that becoming a reading school is expensive and that authors are inaccessible.  She summed up the conference when stating, "Reading for pleasure is a necessity and not a luxury!"  A whole day with so much sharing, research evidence and enthusiasm for reading - a wow conference!

See information on our next two conferences at https://researchrichpedagogies.org/events/details/rfp-ou-ukla-saturday-conferences - booking open now!

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