Patron of Reading

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Summer Postcard Challenge

Posted by Rachel Ward on July 16, 2013 at 1:25 PM

When I heard about the Patron of Reading Scheme I thought what a good idea it was and it sounded like something I could probably do. I put my name forward and it took a few weeks for Jennifer Jacques Van-Baaren, English Teacher and Literacy Co-ordinator at Pontypridd High School, to get in touch and ask if I would be their Patron of Reading. I visited in February, and the deal was sealed.

As my first project, I’ve set the staff and students a Summer Postcard Challenge. All they have to do is tell me about the best book they read this summer, writing the title, author and a sentence about why they like it on a postcard or the back of a stuck down envelope. I’ll put all the entries into a hat and one lucky winner will receive signed copies of all my books (plus maybe some extra goodies).

The idea just popped into my head. It’s easy, fun and, rather sneakily, it’s a good way for me to find out what students are reading and enjoying (at least the ones that do read at the moment).

As I live a fair way from the school, I couldn’t launch the challenge in person so I recorded a little video (with a lot of help from my daughter) and posted it on YouTube . The video is being shown to English classes during the last week of term, there will be an article and link on the school website, and Jennifer, the school and I have also tweeted about it.

Twitter is a marvellous thing and we’ve had retweets from Ash Morgan who featured on The Voice and from Welsh rugby players. Ash has promised to send in a postcard about his favourite summer read too! The more we can show that all sorts of cool people read, the better!

I’ve no idea how many postcards I’ll receive – the idea may or may not work - but I’ve already had a lot of fun with it and Jen assures me that the students are buzzing about it. Let’s hope the sunny weather lasts through the school holidays and September brings a hatful of good books.

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Reply Dee Kirkby
2:03 AM on July 18, 2013 
What a good idea! Looking forward to hearing about how it works out.
3:25 AM on July 18, 2013 
I absolutely love the postcard idea. I've provided all of my class with a blank postcard (although I can't afford 30 stamps these days!) so will be intrigued to see what comes back. It's a lovely way to keep up to date with what they are reading over the summer.
Reply Rachel Ward
12:01 PM on July 18, 2013 
Thanks, Dee and Jon. I'm excited to see what September brings. I'm guessing this will work really well with a class of students that you know, Jon. Giving them each a card is a lovely idea. I think postcards are little everyday treasures.
Reply Dee Kirkby
2:50 AM on July 29, 2013 
I have just watched your video (i only read your post the first time) and think it is such a great way of communicating with the students. I am only going in to the school a few times a term, and will be sending a newsletter once every half term but think using a video will be another way of keeping in touch with all the students. Thank you so much for sharing your idea.