Two platoon leaders in the US Army started recommending books to their troops and they found their book lists so successful at getting them reading that they launched a website where the recommendations of the rich and famous could be found. People donated funds so that these books could be supplied to the service personnel in need. A great scheme you can look at here.
Barack Obama is a great reader and his recommendations are publicised widely in the US. Here is a sample of his choices from The Independant newspaper in the U.K. From Harry Potter to Shakespeare no less. In an interview with the New York Times, when asked how reading helped him in his solitary days he said
…. it reintroduced me to the power of words as a way to figure out who you are and what you think, and what you believe, and what’s important, and to sort through and interpret this swirl of events that is happening around you every minute.
Reading can do that. It can also help you read quickly through the mountains of reports and legislation you would need to read as President, or through the mountains of information you need to wade through as a high school or college student. We talked about this with some of our year 7/8s this week.
Significantly though, when a survey was carried out with over 2000 students aged between 7 and 15, they said that the most important reading role models to inspire them to read were their Mum (71%), their Dad (62%), their friends, their teachers and other adults at school. Most chose a role model for their qualities such as being caring, hard working and honest rather than for being famous or rich (or goodlooking, but it didn’t say these qualities have to be mutually exclusive!). When asked how they thought their role model inspires them to read, they said if
- They recommended books for them to read
- They explain to them why it’s important to read
At school we look to our teachers and other adults to be great reading role models for our students. In the library we have a new Cool Wall where some of us are showing that we don’t just tell children to read but love to read ourselves. Many of the books they love can be borrowed from our library. More will be added, but here are a few of our wonderful reading superheroes:
Mr Haddock’s role model was his Mum, who was also a school librarian. He read and loved everything she recommended, even if as a cool teenager he didn’t always admit that his mum’s choices were the best. A lover of fantasy series, he would recommend books by David Eddings (such as the Belgariad series we have in the library), Raymond E. Feist and of course Harry Potter. He also enjoyed Nancy Drew and Hardy Brothers mystery books and Calvin & Hobbs comic strips. The theatrical Mr Haddock now reads Shakespeare’s plays or re-reads his old favourite series.
Mrs Abrams grew up in a house that was full of books, and both her Mum and Dad read lots of non-fiction books about the areas they were interested in, such as architecture and gardening. Great role models were also her older sister and her friends both at school and since leaving college.
Mrs Abrams loves the kinds of books she now reads to the students in her classes, such as Wonder, Holes, Hoot and Hatchet, all books we have in the library. She enjoyed Enid Blyton series and Roald Dahl books when she was younger. She likes books with some adventure and mystery in them, and just very good interesting stories such as All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr (on Obama’s top 10 too) and My Family and other animals by Gerald Durrell.
Mr Daily immediately recalled enjoying Phillip Pullman’s Northern Lights and the Dark Materials trilogy, an exciting and at times dark series about a girl who finds out that her mother is part of a scheme to remove “dust” from the atmosphere by separating children from their daemons, their soul companions. This series was completed in 2000, and we are excited to know that Pullman is soon to release a fourth book which acts as both a prequel and sequel to the original series. Mr Daily also admits to enjoying the Phoebe and her Unicorn books!
Mr Karl‘s reading role model was his Mum. He really enjoyed reading magic and fantasy books like Lord of the Rings. Mr Karl can also recommend the Skulduggery Pleasant series!
Hazel doesn’t recall anyone in particular being a reading role model but once she discovered the joy of reading really made up for lost time! Hazel loves fantasy series, by authors Anne McCaffrey and Raymond E Feist, like some of those we have at school – Fablehaven, Belgariad, and Lord of the Rings, and sci-fi fiction by author Robert Heinlein. Terry Pratchett writes funny fantasy fiction about all kinds of magical things and we have some of his books in the library.
Finally, Mrs Bamber used to love Enid Blyton books, series like the Magic Faraway Tree and boarding school stories like Malory Towers, and later Judy Blume and Nancy Drew. I think my reading role model was my Dad because he read a lot of books about the war and, without fail, a daily broadsheet and evening newspaper. Nowadays rarely a day goes by that something Harry Potter related is not mentioned in our house! I love to read mystery, historical fiction, and classic love stories.
Come and look at our reading superhero wall in the library and borrow one of these recommendations. We guarantee you will enjoy them!