ThatBoyCanTeach (Aidan Severs) is well known by Reading Rockers on Twitter. He has joined us here on #RRBlog to share his thoughts on the impact #ReadingRocks16 had on his teaching.
If you’re wondering whether a trip to #ReadingRocks_17 is worth it, read on…….
Last year’s Reading Rocks came about at just the right time: we had suffered in the 2016 KS2 reading test and I was on a quest to improve the way we taught reading.
Twitter had already come to the rescue in part – advice gained from blog posts by Rhoda Wilson and Martin Galway among others were formative in my thinking and strategising about teaching reading. I’d also been tweeting with a great group of people who had a similar outlook on education as myself – book talk was a regular feature in our conversations.
When I saw names such as Michael Tidd, Rhoda Wilson, Martin Galway and Mathew Tobin on the bill I knew that giving up a Saturday (something I don’t do lightly) for a bit of CPD was going to be worthwhile. Then, when my Twitter tribe decided they were all going the proposition became even more attractive. The nail in the coffin was that Chris Dyson bought a ticket for me and told me I was going – thanks Chris!
And I’m so glad I went. As if meeting Twitter friends in real life (over the excellent coffee and pastries) wasn’t enough, we were treated to goodie bags, the opportunity to explore an amazing school environment where reading is clearly central to everything and brilliantly inspiring talks from a range of speakers. In fact, the options were so great that clashes meant I couldn’t even listen to all the talks I wanted to hear.
Rhoda’s session on whole class reading was confirmation that, with a little more structure and deliberateness, I was on the right track with how I taught reading. Chatting with her and Michael Tidd afterwards a few ideas of my own began to form more clearly in my mind – having a day dedicated to just talking about reading with like-minded teachers really got me enthusiastic about getting back into the classroom and improving my practice.
Both Michael Tidd’s session on teaching reading using film and Mathew Tobin’s on using picture books were great opportunities to be exposed to tried-and-tested texts ideal for use in the classroom. Both presented practical ideas for how to use different types of text in the classroom and provided opportunities for further discussion about quality books. The fact that books were readily available on the trade stands was excellent too – folk like Simon Smith must have gone home with very light wallets. The enthusiasm generated by all this book sharing has been enough to fuel me as a teacher of reading for half a year so far!
This year’s Reading Rocks is set to be even bigger with a great line up of speakers including Teresa Cremin (whose research has really impacted on my teaching of reading), SF Said (hands down the UKs biggest advocate of children’s literature and an awesome writer to boot) and Mary Myatt (whose book ‘Hopeful Schools’ kicked off 2017 for me in a positive and optimistic way).
Will I be there? You bet!
Thank you Aidan. We’re looking forward to your workshop at this year’s event.