Teachers' experience of... evaluating books for UKLA book awards with the class

"Which were the most popular? A lot were put off by the size of 'The Murderer's Ape' but the football one was the main popular one for the boys and 'Three Cheers for Women' was the main one for the girls. Because 'Riding a Donkey Backwards', you could read one of the little stories in about two minutes so that appealed to them. They could just go and read one story and they are funny. I'm sorry they don't look like hands."

Book provision for a school class

“For non-fiction, which I wasn't surprised, that's mine. Loads, loads more than school provides. Having said that maybe because I have so many I haven't searched around the school for books because I find what I have is usually better than anything the school's got. Again, it varies from ones my own children had to ones I just magpied from all sorts of places. Basically the non-fiction, all the books on space are mine and even though it's not a Year 3/4 topic I get it in and when Year 5/6 do it they come up to me, not go to the library, come to me for the space books and it's something I'm interested in.

Children's reactions to their first free reading session in the library

We went in to the library and it was their first ever session in the library as my class and we had a free read session. […] There were a few of our topic books in the table in the middle so that's kind of what this bit is here, we've got a table there with some really comfy, gorgeous seating around it and then around the outside are the bookshelves all along there, and this bit's sort of a fiction area, so the rest of it's non-fiction. I had to spend a bit of time explaining the Dewey Decimal system, how that works, how to find a book but then it was really interesting looking at what books they gravitate towards, so with this massive range some of them honed in to, well, I really want to know about the Titanic so off I go, go and find that book, sit and read it.

Children's reactions when reading free choice in the school library

“There's a lot of excitement in the library, so at the moment we've got – We've had some money that we can actually spend so we bought new books so that's really engaging the children as well. The coding is on the back there. I also just charted down as well where they like to sit. It was laying on the beanbags, kneeling, I can't imagine a more uncomfortable way to read, I wouldn't dream of kneeling on the floor but two children did, on chairs, on cushions, and then on the spinny chair as well. I noticed in week two same girl on the spinny chair so I'll have to see where she is in the queue and see if the other children go past it and she's at the back of the queue or is she getting to the front? I don't know. It would be interesting to see.”

Where do we go to research?

“We weren't able to access the server to do it [on the iPads] and so that's when I started thinking, right, what barriers are we facing? There's other ones, there's lack of topic books. Not only we're not able to access the server but we have tech support at school that's once a week and it's for half a day so he comes in on a Tuesday morning. If you do it on a Wednesday you've got to wait a full week until he comes in. I didn't have anything display, or very little on display about the Mayans because it was at the beginning of the topic and I've got a big learning wall that I wanted to add things on that we researched, so it's not as if I could refer them to the topic, to any display that we'd got. Also another barrier is that we have one iPad slot once per week in school. So we want to do writing, we want to cross curricular in some of the topics that we have, it is so challenging to try and do that and you try and plan around that but then you're scuppered by other barriers that you're not necessarily anticipating. ”

Inspired by a whole school week on ‘The Lost Words' by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

Well, that's my little acorn over here is the cost. I've got some little frown faces. We did buy three books so it was one book shared between two classes which is a shame, that's all we could afford, but that cost us £39 and it doesn't sound a lot but there isn't a lot of budget to go around for something like that. But I didn't feel we could do it with one book being passed around the whole school, it was considered. So we did buy some in, plus I'd got my own copy.