Here's an example of cross-fertilisation of ideas that I thought worked really well with my patron of reading school, Ysgol Esgob Morgan. I'd been asked to help launch 'Mega Reads', a mini- book award set up by a consortium of schools in Nottingham. The aim was for me to visit each of Y3s in the six primary schools and advise them about what to look for in a good book, cover design etc. Heidi Shrewell- Cooper, the consortium co-ordinator, had already chosen the four titles, which were:
A Boy, A Bear and A Boat by Dave Shelton
Clone Chaos by Simon Bartram
Winnie Goes for Gold by Laura Owens/Korky Paul
Class Three All At Sea by Julia Jarman/Lynne Chapman
Having completed the visits, I was due to return on June 18th to help with the quiz for the Grand Finale. All good fun! After the first visit I had the brainwave of inviting my Class 3 teacher at Esgob Morgan, Jenny Ritchie, to 'shadow' the award with her class. Ever the enthusiast, Jenny agreed. Her class read the same titles within the same time-frame, announcing their winner on the same day. I thought it would be great if the classes could blog each other with their opinions etc during the process but that proved too difficult to organise.
In the end the Nottingham consortium chose Clone Chaos as their winner but YEM went for A Boy, A Bear and A Boat by an overwhelming majority. Jenny's class all completed a tick list I'd prepared under headings such as 'It stayed in my head afterwards 'There's a bit in it I will always remember' 'If I could choose one of the books to keep forever it would be...'
Jenny's feedback about the shadowing experience was really positive. She wrote: 'Thanks for including us in this terrific project - we've loved taking part. I've asked the children to look out for other books by these authors. I'm using extracts of your tick sheet for 'Stand up and tell us about another book you've read where... a bit has stuck in your head etc...' Jenny also mentioned that because of the time constraint she had to read aloud every day to her class, something she usually can't fit in. The consequence was the children followed the books avidly and couldn't wait for the next instalment. Win-win!