My Lockdown Keynote on Reading for Pleasure




I am pleased to share the video above of my virtual keynote before the Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils Conference of the Cheltenham Literary Festival – via Zoom, of course. 

The teachers in attendance had been reading my novel Bone Talk as part of the programme.

I was very conscious of the fact that I was speaking to teachers, who know a lot more than I do about the art of seducing children into reading ... so I decided to focus on the PLEASURE in Reading for Pleasure.  The video's 21 minutes, so get yourself a cuppa and put on some headphones!

'Reading is the key to so much,' said Ali Mawle, RTRP Director of Learning and Public Engagement, in her introductory remarks. 

She quoted author Aidan Chambers (Postcards from No Man's Land): 'We are not just reading for pleasure, we are reading for survival'.

After my presentation the conference continued with talks by RTRP teachers Luke Holder, Claire Coates and Kat Wood on their inspirational efforts to bring the joy into reading for their young charges – reading newsletters, bedtime stories, fluency projects, 'reading that reflects where they are now not where we want them to be".

In an article about Cheltenham's year round outreach to put books into the hands of low income children, Ali writes: 

Inspired children need inspiring teachers; inspiring teachers need to be regularly inspired themselves. RTRP does just this, providing the time and space for teachers to talk about the latest books and to share ideas for using them in the classroom. One teacher spoke for many when he wrote: 'The classroom is now alive with literature and inundated with books that the children have purchased for themselves based on our new shared love of reading.'

RTRP has expanded from Gloucestershire to a further eight regions of the UK and includes both primary and secondary groups. The project also partners with other literacy organisations including Bradford Literature FestivalCentre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), Just ImagineNational Literacy TrustKernow Education Arts Partnership (The Writers’ Block), PetersSeven Stories  and The Reader.

Warm thanks to the RTRP  team who got my virtual speech up and running – especially Education Manager for Literature Sarah Forbes and Education Administrator Khazana McLaughlin. 



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