In Term 3, I'm excited to be trialling a new initiative aimed at motivating some of our reluctant readers. I'd been thinking about working with our older students, but Esther, our library and resource assistant, suggested I start with Year 4s, because intervening earlier might have more of an impact. She also suggested tracking them over several weeks, rather than just doing it as a one-off. I like this idea because it gives me a chance to build relationships with students who probably don't come to the library outside of their normal class library visits. My positive experiences running Year 6 book clubs then led me to consider whether using that format would work with reluctant readers. There's only one way to find out!
The plan for Term 3 is that I will take one Year 4 student from each of our Year 3/4 classes (plus one more to make it a nice round 10 - easier for statistics!). I think that will be a nice size group to work with. The students I was looking for did not have reading difficulties, which are addressed by our teaching staff, but instead had motivational issues. They are the kids who can read but aren't. I sent through data on library borrowing statistics to help teachers with their student selections. Three of the students selected had taken out less than ten books since the start of the year. I got a nice mixture of male (6) and female (4) students. I will take these students out of class for 30 minutes each week, on a Friday to maximise their reading opportunities over the weekend.
I have asked the teachers if their students are comfortable with me having Milo (our school support dog) with me during our book club, and they all are. This might be something that is a drawcard to the students, as none of the other book clubs has Milo present (a teacher takes him to the staffroom at morning tea, when the other clubs are run).
Using my book club format means I will start each session with a reading question and offer tags for when reading challenges are completed. I will amend the challenges to make them more attractive to younger, less enthusiastic readers. I think running this group as a book club will take away any stigma about being pulled out of class, and the fact that only Year 6s normally get to have tags might also be motivational for them. I will emphasize that this is the first time I have ever done this so I will be relying on them to give me feedback on what is working and what is not.
I will have the students complete a reading questionnaire over our first couple of meetings. This will give me more information about the students and their reading attitudes and habits. I have printed out their borrowing histories to give me an understanding of what books they have been issuing.
I have been running Library Skills sessions with our Year 5/6 classes and have noticed that almost all of them put their hands up when I ask them, "who finds it difficult to find a good book to read?". I have been sharing some tips with those classes on how to find good books to read, and I will introduce some of these techniques with the new book club too.