There are many pleasures to be had from working in a primary school. The children are an absolute joy, they can have such a zeal for life, they really make my job enjoyable. There are so many things I could tell you but I want to share with you the best things that happen in my week.
As someone who loves books, it’s got to be story time but it may surprise you it’s not when I’m reading. I do enjoy reading to others but it’s when my class teacher is reading to the children. I love to hear people read. I can’t help it, sometimes I just have to stop what I’m doing. I find myself wanting to sit down ignoring anything else. I listen attentively to my teacher, who is slowly pulling me in. I feel like I’m a child again, I so badly want to sit on the carpet with the children. I am lost, I twirl my hair, my teacher catches me. I feel slightly embarrassed but I don’t want to move, she smiles knowing she’s got me captivated. Some of the children look at me with smiles, just for a little while we have become the same age!
The next thing is hearing the children read. Thankfully the children have so many opportunities to read, the school is full of books and information to aid learning. I am privileged to hear children read on a daily basis some are amazing, the way they read the text is very special. They make it come alive.
Part of my job involves doing intervention work. One of the interventions is to encourage children to read, some struggle to read at home because of various reasons. Some do not enjoy reading and some struggle with reading because of their ability, they may have learning difficulties. But I always say there is a way to smash through any barriers. We just have to find the way for you.
I first try to find out their interests then introduce various text materials, comics, football pages in the newspaper, fiction, non fiction. I also find using unusual stuff can help grab their attention, I sometimes use technology the children love using iPads. Anything to pull them back in.
We start off, I ask what do you think this is about. Their little brain cells start to tick, we have banter back and forth, I try to make it as fun as possible, this is their special time. I am well known for being very expressive in all my lessons. The children love my tall tales, my diabolical accents, my stories of when I was younger.
I remind them about using expression. I tell them to give it some attitude. I say pretend you are a reporter if reading from the paper. Pretend you are a character in the book. Pretend you are a famous author.
Pretend this, that …
I tell them I don’t want to see the pictures because I want them to grab my mind with the way they deliver the text. I want to imagine…
The children smile as I wave my arms about getting all animated. They start, I love it, they begin to relax, then it happens the love of reading starts to develop.
I stop them when they are not expecting it. I praise them, I give positive feedback, I give suggestions. I say what do you think… I ask so many questions we start up again with the banter. Ideas come pouring out. Oh I’m getting so excited to know what will follow … they pick up on the enthusiasm. We close the material we are using, then I add please come back and tell me what happens next. The children giggle, eyes wide, nodding, promising.
The next day I have children coming up to me excited, telling me what they had found or what had happened. I stop what I’m doing and give my full attention. I delight in them expressing themselves. I thank them for sharing, off they go skipping, happy and content.
Sadly some children haven’t been able to explore further by themselves but I turn it around and say let’s venture together to find out what happens.
My reward is that children start to find a new love of reading whether it be a cereal box or a beautiful book. The love of reading has started. The seed firmly planted. I hope they will take enjoyment in reading for many years to come.
I remind myself some of these children are the writers and story tellers of the future. I hope one day I will pick their book up off the shelf and hear them express themselves all over again.