Innovative approaches to Reading for Pleasure win awards

Posted on Monday, June 17, 2024
Category: News

Innovative approaches to Reading for Pleasure win awards

The winners of the HarperCollins Reading for Pleasure Awards 2024, in association with the Open University and the UK Literacy Association (UKLA), have been announced.

The awards recognise and celebrate teachers who are putting Reading for Pleasure at the heart of their classrooms in creative and innovative ways, to inspire children to read.  This year, bestselling author Hannah Gold joined the judging panel as the guest judge.

The winners were awarded across six categories, with each category receiving £250 worth of books from across Farshore, HarperCollins Children's Books, Collins and Barrington Stoke along with 20 copies of Help Your Child Love Reading by Alison David.

Teresa Cremin, Professor of Education at The Open University, said the winning schools help to demonstrate "the impact of giving reading for pleasure the respect it deserves". She added, "Their investment and involvement in strategically developing positive reader identities has clearly paid dividends", with children clearly benefitting from the schools' focus on reading for pleasure.

This year's Reading for Pleasure award winners

Early Career Winner: Charlotte Squirrell, Moorlands Church of England Primary Academy, Norfolk

Charlotte was recognised for her child-centric and diversity-led approach to developing a reading community within the school.

Experienced Teacher - Joint Winners: Chris Soul, Watford St John's Church of England Primary School, Watford and Imogen Maund, Caldecott Primary School, Oxfordshire.  Highly Commended:  Claire Burton-Gardner, Turnfurlong Junior School, Buckinghamshire. 

The judges applauded Imogen for going on a deep-dive into poetry, enthusing not only her class, but also inspiring the entire school to develop an ambitious plan for poetry. With Chris, the judges were very impressed with his approach to engaging the whole school with the Storytime in School project, created by Farshore to encourage daily storytime in the classroom, and to extend his influence and experience to other schools. The judges were also very impressed with the school reading podcast.

The judges also gave a Highly Commended award to Claire Burton-Gardner from Turnfurlong Junior School for working hard to broaden the texts that children have access to within their school environment, with author visits throughout the year.

Chris Soul, Experienced Teacher Winner, pictured with (l to r) Alison David, Hannah Gold and Teresa Cremin. 

School Reading Champion - Joint Winners: Henrietta Englefield, Colfe's Senior School, London and Kathryn Handley, The Sir Donald Bailey Primary Academy, Nottinghamshire.   

The judges were delighted to award Henrietta as they thought she demonstrated how reading can be implemented successfully in a secondary school setting which would be inspirational for other teachers to see. Kathryn was praised for her involvement of parents in encouraging a reading for pleasure habit beyond the classroom.

Whole School - Winner: Lydgate Infant School, Sheffield submitted by Vikki Varley and Daisy Whitehead

The judges highlighted that this school's work would be a great inspiration for other schools, with plenty of evidence-based data used as a springboard for a varied and comprehensive approach to embedding reading for pleasure.

Whole School Winner Lydgate Infant School, Sheffield, with Vikki Varley and Daisy Whitehead and (l to r) Alison David, Hannah Gold and Teresa Cremin

Community Reading Champion - Joint Winners: Cathy Cook, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham and Simon Pollard, St Austell Festival of Children's Literature, Cornwall

Both Community Reading Champions have been commended for being brilliant examples in igniting change in their communities, with Cathy being described by the judges as a trailblazer.

Author's Choice - Winner: Steeton Primary School, Yorkshire submitted by Claire Redman, chosen by bestselling author Hannah Gold.

Hannah said, "I loved the emphasis on creating numerous tactile reading places throughout the entire school; spaces which undoubtedly lend a more relaxed, comfortable feel to reading - one of the cornerstones of fostering a reading for pleasure culture. I also have to give a special shout out to Eric Shaw for his incredible hard work and dedication. He sounds like a very special person indeed."

Alison David, consumer insight director at Farshore, said that after considering the entries, "It's a joy to know teachers and educators are focusing on reading for pleasure strategically and with so much imagination and creativity. To read about the impact on children and young people is a delight and cause for enormous optimism."