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The Power of Book Gifting Programs in Providing Access to Books

Book gifting programs can be a game-changer in providing equal access to books. However, to create lasting effects on home reading habits, it's important to take a long-term approach.

This requires a full-circle approach to book access, which involves setting aside time and space for reading, storytelling, allowing kids to choose their own books, and even rewarding regular reading sessions. For older children, book gifting can be part of a more significant plan implemented as part of "Wider Strategies" in a Pupil Premium spending tier system.

The key is to carefully consider how book gifting fits into the bigger picture of a school's overall approach to promoting a love of reading across all ages.So, what can we do to make sure that book gifting isn’t just a one-off event that has little positive impact on reading?

One consideration is to take a wraparound approach to reading access. You could:

  • Build reading habits in school and at home by setting aside designated time and space to read.

  • Include the chance for children to listen to an adult regularly reading aloud to them as part of their reading routine.

  • Support children to choose their own book and build anticipation and positive attitudes to reading.

  • Support parents in reading at home, such as making use of the TRUST Talk resource.

  • Follow up activities that incentivise regular reading habits – for example with book club sessions.

Give a child a book…

For older children, book gifting could fall under the umbrella of ​‘Wider Strategies’ similar to that of giving out revision guides and set texts to students at GCSE. But just like with books that are gifted for pleasure, the intention and impact may be lost if we don’t consider whole school strategies to make these texts accessible to students. When it comes to buying students revision or study guides, consider:

  • Is there a dedicated quiet space in school for students to study?

  • Is the common language around independent study in school focused on ​‘study habits’ rather than revision?

  • Are students equipped with knowledge about memory and how they learn to help demystify the study process?

  • Can staff routinely model the metacognitive strategies needed to access a revision guide – for example, using an index, glossary or contents page and modelling how to understand the relationship between text and diagrams?

Based on blog written by Chloe Butlin, EEF Literacy Content Specialist

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