Reading for Pleasure Teacher Awards 2023 winners announced

Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Category: News

Reading for Pleasure Teacher Awards 2023 winners announced

The winners of The Farshore Reading for Pleasure Teacher Awards 2023, highlighting the work schools are doing to encourage a love of reading, have been announced.

Launched in 2017 in association with the Open University and the UK Literacy Association (UKLA), 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.

The winners were awarded across five categories this year, with each category receiving £250 worth of Farshore books and 20 copies of Help Your Child Love Reading by Alison David:

Early Career - Winner: Janay Brazier, Braiswick Primary School, Colchester

Experienced Teacher - Winner: Katy Bland, Spotland Primary School, Rochdale

School Reading Champion - Winner: Kiran Satti, Wallbrook Primary Academy, Coseley

Whole School - Joint Winners: Warren Primary Academy, Nottingham and Grove Road
Community Primary School, Harrogate

Author's Choice - Winner: Kiran Satti, Wallbrook Primary Academy, Coseley

The Early Career category was awarded to Janay Brazier from Braiswick Primary School, who was recognised for her emphasis on children's autonomy when choosing books, the importance of reading aloud, and the creation of a book nook where children take turns to sit with a friend and share books together, ensuring that no child misses out.

The Experienced Teacher category winner Katy Bland, from Spotland Primary School, wowed the judges with how engaged the whole school, both children and teachers, became with starting conversations about the books that they had been reading. The teachers had the chance to visit a local bookshop and choose a newly released book and a book they loved from their own childhood, which were then displayed in treasure chests for the children to borrow. Talking about books with teachers and peers enables a sense of discovery, giving children a chance to find a new favourite book.

The School Reading Champion category winner, Kiran Satti from Wallbrook Primary Academy, focused her efforts on the importance of facilitating time in the school day for reading together as a community, and encouraging discussions that stimulates a richer reading experience. Satti also won the newly created 'Author's Choice' category, which was awarded by this year's guest judge J.T. Williams, the author of the award-winning Lizzie and Belle Mysteries series, who will visit Satti's school as part of their prize.

J.T. Williams said the "most compelling" aspect of Kiran's work was the drive to develop empathy by placing equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of book selection. Willliams added, "Kiran's informal book talk also spoke straight to the heart of my own values regarding children's reading."

The Whole School category was awarded to two schools, Grove Road Community Primary School, Harrogate and Warren Academy, Nottingham. The judges said the schools worked diligently to foster a reading for pleasure habit, seeing positive shifts in attitudes with children, teachers and parents. In both schools, books are shared around the whole school, between peers and teachers, with a strong focus on enabling children to choose books that reflect the society they live in.

Alison David, consumer insight director for publisher Farshore, said, "It's such a joy to see the creative, imaginative and important work teachers do to encourage children to read for pleasure. There can be few things more important in education and in life: reading for pleasure is associated with better academic results and with wellbeing. These award-winning teachers are a total inspiration."

Farshore also launched the Storytime in Schools research project this year, which saw 20 participating schools from across the UK experience a daily storytime for one term. Teachers read to children for a least 20 minutes each day, purely for enjoyment with no formal teaching attached, to measure the impact on children's motivation to read for pleasure independently.

The research found children and teachers enjoyed storytime, and felt it had made the classroom a calmer, happier place in which reading for pleasure was seen as a worthwhile and valuable activity. This is echoed in the Reading for Pleasure Teacher Awards, which shows the positive outcomes of children having the access to books that they want to read, alongside space in both the school day and the school in which to discover, share and read aloud their new favourite books.