|Photo: Rachel Campling|
I am a specialist primary school teacher who works with pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds at Harpole Primary School in Northamptonshire. Unfortunately, some of these pupils did not have a single book at home, other than their school reading book. With the closure of so many libraries, having easy access to free books wasn’t a viable option for them. As an avid reader and writer of children’s fiction, this really upset me. How were they to enjoy escaping into other worlds without access to great books? So, my colleague and I hatched an exciting plan.
We appealed to all the parents of pupils at the school for books that they’d finished with to be donated to us, and happily they came flooding in. This enabled us to set up the Book Swap Shop.
At the beginning of the year every child in the school is given a book. This can be swapped for a different book once they have read it or kept forever if they love it so much. The shop is open every Wednesday lunchtime and the children flock to the bookstand and rifle through the boxes to find their next treasure. They can choose any book they fancy. There is always a buzz of excited chatter as the children recommend books to each other or search for another book by the same author to devour.
The shop itself is run by the pupils I work with, the Book Swap Shop Reading Champions. They organise the books, tick off pupils’ names as they swap books, stamp new stock with a star to show that it’s from our shop, and help other pupils to choose books. This has really helped to raise their self-esteem.
This venture has not only helped our pupils to get their hands on a whole variety of wonderful adventures and factual texts, but it has also generated a love of reading for pleasure throughout the whole school.
I think this is a fantastic idea. How about you? Are you inspired by Rachel to try something similar - or are you already? Let us know.