Egmont Reading for Pleasure Teacher Awards 2020

The winners of the 2020 Egmont Reading for Pleasure Teacher Awards, in association with the Open University and the UK Literacy Association (UKLA), were announced on Saturday 7th November during the Open University Reading for Pleasure webinar. 2020 marked the most competitive year to date, with a 66% increase in submissions. A fourth category, School Reading Champion, was introduced to recognise librarians, classroom assistants and other staff who make a strong impact.

Sayes Court Primary and Nursery School, Addlestone snapped up the Whole School Award. Eve Vollans, Mayflower Community Academy, Plymouth received the Experienced Teacher Award. Nigel Lungenmuss-Ward, St Marys CofE Academy, Bury Saint Edmunds won Early Career Teacher Award. The School Reading Champion Award – a new category for 2020 – was presented to Carol Carter, Headlands Primary School, Northampton.

The awards were launched in 2017 following extensive research into reading for pleasure by Egmont and the OU and UKLA over many years. Studies suggest teachers have limited awareness of children’s literature beyond the tried and tested classics, and lack a coherent reading for pleasure teaching strategy. Curriculum pressures and an emphasis on testing detracts from their abilities to dedicate time and space for this which in turn this has a direct knock-on effect on children’s development as readers.  By recognising and celebrating teachers who are currently putting reading for pleasure at the heart of their classrooms, it is hoped the award will serve to inspire others to use similar practices in the future.

The final submissions were judged by a panel of experts including Jenny McLachlan (bestselling children’s author), Teresa Cremin (Professor of Education Literacy, Open University), David Reedy (UK Literacy Association), Joy Court (Reviews Editor: The School Librarian Journal), Fiona Evans (National Literacy Trust) Cally Poplak (Managing Director, Egmont Books) and Alison David (Consumer Insight Director, Egmont Bookd).  The award has been endorsed by over 20 organisations, including The Reading Agency, The Publishers Association and the School Library Association, who recognise the impact that dedicated reading time can have.

“We were so impressed with the creative, innovative and entertaining ideas that were demonstrated in the submissions,” said Alison David, Consumer Insight Director at Egmont Books. “From our research we know how important it is that children read for pleasure.  The interesting thing about reading for pleasure is that you can’t teach it! It is not a set of skills to acquire. Teaching reading is teaching literacy, it’s incredibly important, but not to be confused with helping children establish a lifelong love of reading, simply for the pure joy of it.    However, reading for pleasure can be shared, modelled, and encouraged.   These amazing teachers and schools, with their inspirational research-informed ideas, understand that.”

Jenny McLachlan said ‘I was incredibly impressed by the quality of the submissions for the Egmont Reading for Pleasure Teacher Awards. Teachers and librarians are promoting reading for pleasure in schools with such passion, hard work and originality. It’s a wonderful thing to see.’

Whole School Award–   Sayes Court Primary and Nursery School, Addlestone

Sayes Court Primary and Nursery School – Developing a Reading Community

At Sayes Court many excellent initiatives including developing teachers knowledge of children’s literature, developing reading environments, the daily timetabling of children’s independent reading and of storytime, and increasing parental engagement have led to embedding Reading for Pleasure in the school, much enjoyment and improved attainment.

Experienced Teacher Award– Eve Vollans, Mayflower Community Academy, Plymouth

From “Beginners” to “Bookish Bletherers”. Motivating Key Stage 2 Boy Readers

Eve wanted to support the boys with reading skills and to give them opportunities to enjoy and discover new texts and ways of reading.  She gave them bespoke reading packages, every Friday the boys arranged a 1 minute book review session which is{“type”:”block”,”srcClientIds”:[“a0199e78-f0cf-455f-9622-418583e5f59a”],”srcRootClientId”:””} posted on Twitter and even included outdoor reading. The boys are keen, enthusiastic, and their reading attainment has increased.

Early Career Teacher Award– Nigel Lungenmuss-Ward, St Marys CofE Academy, Bury Saint Edmunds

Promoting Reading for Pleasure Through Online Bedtime Stories.

Nigel set out to increase the profile of reading within the school by showing the children that all staff enjoy reading. He wanted to create mystery and excitement around reading. He posts bedtime story videos on the school’s Facebook page read by different members of staff. This has created a real buzz around the school, the children are talking about reading and feedback from parents has been excellent.

School Reading Champion Award – Carol Carter, Headlands Primary School, Northampton

Five ways to use your School Library to build Reading Communities

Carole aimed to encourage reading communities by ensuring the children could vote for new books, by interacting with authors, both by inviting them to the school and via social media, setting up a Library Café for children and their families, and engaging parents through newsletters, information and providing adult fiction and non-fiction books to borrow.

Each category winner receives an individual award, Egmont books to the value of £250 for their school and 20 copies of Help Your Child Love Reading by Alison David.

“We know that teachers are under immense pressure to deliver results, and can find it challenging to make time within the curriculum for fostering reading for pleasure.  But the social, emotional and cognitive benefits of reading for pleasure is unquestionable,” said Teresa Cremin, Professor of Education at the Open University. “Our winners are clearly building reciprocal reading communities and documenting the impact of these within and beyond the classroom. We are delighted to be able to recognise this publicly through the award.”

The winning four entries, along with five highly commended entries, are available to view here.

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