Patron of Reading

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Introduction

John Dougherty entertaining Year 4 at West Earlham Junior School

What is a Patron of Reading?

A Patron of Reading (PoR) is a school's special, designated children's author with whom the school forms a personal attachment. The patron might be an author, a poet, storyteller or an illustrator. Tenure lasts for a minimum of a year, but the exact length is decided mutually between the school and patron.


First created by Tim Redgrave, head teacher of Ysgol Esgob Morgan in St Asaph, Denbighshire, the idea of having a PoR is to bring an exciting dimension to the school’s quest to create a buzz about books. Everything the patron does is related to helping encourage and develop a reading for pleasure culture in the school: book quizzes, blogs, book recommendations, discussions, plays, poetry bashes, blogs, book trailers and visits- the possibilities are endless.


‘As a children’s writer I undertake many school and library visits a year and I enjoy them tremendously but the time spent with each class is so fleeting. Being Esgob Morgan’s PoR has been meant I can form a genuine bond with the pupils, staff and parents, through our joint love of books.  I’ve been overwhelmed by how my suggestions have been taken on board and put into practice. The feedback has been uplifting and, on a personal note, I feel cherished.’- Helena Pielichaty


For further information, please visit:

FAQ for schools

FAQ for authors
Karen King's Patron of Reading display

Can you give some specific examples of what a Patron of Reading does?

Here are some of the things the first Patron of Reading, Helena Pielichaty, did in her first year:

  • Visited the school three times (twice with full fees, once with travel expenses only for a televised meeting with the Wales Minster for Education). She stayed on after the first visit to meet parents and sign books.
  • Initiated the Summer Reading Challenge trophy.
  • Sent a 'newsletter' once a term.
  • Created a designated space on her website for staff, pupils and parents. This has allowed pupils and staff to maintain communications with Helena throughout the year.
  • Donated copies of her new books to the school library.
  • Worked with a small group of Y5 reluctant readers (boys). She consulted them about a short play (a work in progress) she’d written and asked for feedback. Afterwards the boys were so keen they wanted to produce the play and held auditions for classmates.
  • Visited the local public library to meet the children’s librarian there, Kara Orford, and sat in on a Chatterbooks session.
  • Donated signed copies of books to the library from other authors such as Allan Ahlberg.
  • Shared new ideas regarding reading, books and libraries, with the staff. For example, Rooted in Reading’s Reading Passports, the National Literacy Trust’s Premier League Reading Stars, the Reader Organisation and National Libraries Day.
  • Participated in a book quiz organised by school which was all about her books. A fun way of familiarising everyone with her material!
  • Added a guest comment to the school’s English policy
  • Tweeted and blogged about her visits and the school to which pupils and staff responded.
  • Recommended books about specific curriculum topics.
  • Read books recommended to her by the staff and pupils.

 

Other examples of patron and school partnerships:

Nicola Morgan & Larbert High School

Jonathan Emmet & Captain's Close Primary School

Tom Palmer & Albrighton Primary School

Daniel Blythe & Danum Academy

 

Please note: The examples given are exactly that- examples. Other schools will have other activities planned with their patron. Each partnership between author and school will differ on the basis that every author and every school differs. However, the emphasis should be on encouraging reading for pleasure. If the emphasis during the author visits changes to that of writing, for example, the movement does not differ from the already established Adopt an Author scheme.

Huw Powell signing books after a 'Spacejackers' day at Writhlington School

What impact has this initiative had?

Tim Redgrave and staff reported it had:

  • Sparked extra interest in reading generally throughout the school
  • Provided teachers with an added dimension when encouraging reading for pleasure
  • Given pupils an extra incentive to join in with schemes such as the Summer Reading Challenge. In 2013, 2014 and 2015 the school had 100% participation- the first school to do so in England and Wales, according to the Reading Agency.
  • Inspired parents and made them feel included, e.g by submitting comments on Helena’s blog and writing poetry with their children at home
  • Boosted the quality of creative writing- even though Helena’s remit doesn’t include creative writing, the writing inspired after her first visit was described as 'phenomenal'
  • Necessitated extending the school library as borrowing had increased well beyond expectation.

MIchael Rosen, patron at Earlsmead Primary School