Saturday, June 6, 2009
Book Week Buzz
Last week we held our very first Book Week at our new school. The theme was "Doorways" and how Reading opens Doorways. The build up was over a month, explaining, encouraging and extolling the virtues of the Book Week activities and how everyone needed to be involved.
Over the week, the students participated in a variety of book and reading related activities from swapping books, to buying books, to reading books in their pyjamas with their parents, to being a book character, to listening to writers of books, to sharing a creative display of doors and books with their houses. Everyone including the staff got behind the week and supported all the events.
The students had a great time and it was quite satisfying hearing the 'YESSSSS" at the Great Book Swap when a child found a book that they are just so happy to find, the squeals of delight at the Characters that other students managed to look like, the warm, snuggly feelings we got when seeing parents enjoying books with their children at the Pyjama reading party, and the awe which the younger students showed as the secondary students put together a fantastic display of doorways they created.
Why do we 'do Bookweek' - it is a lot of work and organisation, and with a community of readers like ours - is promoting literature really necessary?
Can we read too much?I don't think so, so Book week is about promoting reading, literature and books, but there are other benefits. The Book Character Parade was a community event and it brought the whole school together in a fun, non competitive way. There was a buzz in the school as students were excited about dressing up and seeing others dress up. It encouraged them to think about the stories they knew and how they could be a character. Everyone who wanted to be involved could be, there was no exclusion, and gave license to being just a bit silly - silly was celebrated.
The book swap allowed students to again give something of themselves - to part with a maximum of six books to trade for book bucks, which could then buy books that other students had brought in. "The theme was 'Any book you haven't read is a new book" This also had a real community feel about it.
Bookweek was also an opportunity to educate parents about the library and what we do. The pyjama reading party was held in the library, and parents had the opportunity to read to their children for about 25 minutes, and to witness some guest 'readers' read aloud. The invitations that were sent home had on the back an alphabet list of how parents could help nuture their children's reading, including the one for T - Time to read.
With our Author visit the students are able to personalise the reading and book experience. By meeting and knowing an author, it gives reading their books an extra edge and depth, always after an author visit the books of that author are in high demand. The more authors the students are exposed to - the more books they want to read.
Another benefit of book week is that with enough excitement about books and reading, there may be just one more child who picks up a book to see what all the fuss is about and we may just hook them onto reading for life! It is with this hope and possibility that the effort and organisation is all worth it.