The Role of School Librarians in Encouraging Children to Read March 30 2015
Reading is not only an important life skill, it is a valuable and pleasurable hobby. Its roots are firmly anchored in childhood, and it is here that lifetime readers are made. With reading fuelling imagination, relaxation, and academic performance, schools need to be doing everything in their power to encourage the activity. One of the best resources and sources of support in this endeavour is the school library.
Support for school librarians
There are many major programs and initiatives set up to aid schools in encouraging reading amongst their pupils. Librarians obviously play a key role in choosing the packages which are right for their school, and finding ways of generating student interest in the schemes.
One such resource is the Booktrust’s School Library Pack, distributed to over 4,000 schools in 2014. Funded by the Department of Education, and supported by children’s book publishers across the country, the School Library Pack is a collection of resources to help librarians and teaching staff get Year 7 pupils interested in reading. Included in the pack are multiple copies of various children’s titles, including graphic novels and books aimed at more reluctant readers. The pack is free for qualifying schools.
Why is a qualified librarian important for schools?
A well-equipped library run by a qualified librarian is a vital resource in British schools. Research of over 2,100 primary and secondary schools in the UK shows that having a school librarian not only encourages literacy, but also promotes reading for pleasure. Nearly 90% of qualified school librarians contribute to literacy work in their school. Only 58.7% of the 1,542 British secondary schools surveyed employed a fully qualified professional librarian.
A librarian is important because multiple research studies have shown that the older the student is, the less motivated they are to read. It is therefore vital that children are encouraged in both primary and secondary school to explore the pleasures of reading in order to create strong and motivated readers in the future. However, children are less likely to enjoy reading if they feel pressured, or it simply feels like another school activity.
This is where libraries and librarians become really important, as they can offer an escape from classrooms and structured lessons, giving pupils’ time to relax and read under their own impetus. Indeed many teachers are adopting the approach of teaching reading as a pleasurable activity rather than a test of intelligence or a measure of progress.
Be proud of your school librarian
For many children a school librarian is a figure of authority and support. They can help pupils to find the right book for them, encourage them to try something new, and support them with their reading and learning. Reinforce the fact that your school librarian is there to help pupils with one of our range of librarian badges, available here.