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 a writer of fiction, a writer of non-fiction, 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 mooted 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. Tim saw this as an antidote to the ‘testing culture’ so prevalent in education today. Everything the patron does is related to helping encourage a reading for pleasure culture in the school: book quizzes, 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
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:
Other examples of patron and school partnerships:Jonathan Emmet & Captain's Close Primary School
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:
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MIchael Rosen, patron at Earlsmead Primary School