Spark! book award 2022 - Another year of reading
Spark! Book Award: The finalists are announced!
Last year the Spark Book Award was a great success and it culminated in us winning Spark School of the Year. As nice as it was to receive recognition for our enthusiasm, the award is not about winning prizes, it’s about encouraging children to pick up a book and read. Reading for pleasure is an enormous force for good and is a huge driver in educational and life success. At Barnes, we believe in the power of reading and this award is a fantastic vehicle for this.
These have been shared with the children this week, but for your information, here are the finalists in each category:
6–11 picture books
This year, I think the award could be even better. With this week welcoming the announcement of the four finalists in each category, the following suggestions aim to:
- Get more children reading the Spark books
- Get more children responding creatively to what they have read
- Provide access to the books
- Increase parental involvement
- Purchase the books for each class
In order to ensure every child has access to the books, along with having a set of the long-listed Twelve Books of Christmas for each phase, each class has a set of the four finalists to read in class and take turns to take home. Thank you to many of the class reps who organised this by raising funds.
- Children are encouraged to respond creatively to the books they have read
For children in KS2, their reading journal is the perfect place to showcase their creative responses. We also encourage children in EYFS and KS1 to do the same (although not in their reading record). But whether they’re in Nursery or Y6, we would love children to respond to what they read in a range of ways. Organisers of the Spark Book Award also reward children for anything they see that stands out. Last year, a Y6 pupil received a prize for her response to one of the texts she read (When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten). All you have to do is share it with the class teacher or tweet their efforts, tagging in the organisers.
- Keep a record of the books your child has read
It’s easy to forget the books that were selected. Every child will get a sheet that will be stuck into their reading journals so that they can see the books that were in the long list and those that were selected as finalists. The ones with the yellow box in the right hand corner are the finalists. These will also be found in the Spark Book Award section of the school website, under the ‘News and Events’ tab. Here is an example of the checklist from the 7–9 category:
In addition to this, we will continue to promote the books in newsletters, home learning letters, reading journals, assemblies and teachers will look for every opportunity to talk about the books in class.
- Parental views
We would also like to hear from you. If you have had a particularly positive experience with your child when reading one of the books together, or you know that your child has enjoyed one of the books they have read, please could you share this using Twitter, tagging in the Spark Award and the author of the book. (Tagging in the authors of the books often results in a personal reply from the authors which children love.) In addition, you may also want to write something in their reading journal or share your thoughts with your class teacher. Your opinion is valued and welcomed. If the whole community gets involved, this initiative will have even greater impact.
And this is where your help, as parents, is vital. This term, I will be leading a parent workshop about reading for pleasure and the impact it has on your child’s education and personal development. Research shows that reading enjoyment is more important for educational success than socio-economic status and therefore, reading for pleasure is one of our priorities. The Spark Book Award is a perfect way to encourage this approach. The following four suggestions underpin the reading for pleasure approach and anything you can do support this is welcomed, enormously:
- Reading aloud to children
- Encouraging independent reading
- Talking about books at every opportunity and making book recommendations
- Creating warm and welcoming environments that encourage children to stop and read.
The Spark Book Award is a brilliant initiative. It can make readers out of non-readers and turn keen readers into reading machines. I’ve seen it happen; I believe in it entirely. If we get behind it in the right way, we can turn Barnes Primary School into a great big Barnes Book Club!
If you have any thoughts on this, or have any ideas on how you could support this initiative further, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
With kindest regards,
English Lead and UKS2 Phase Leader