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Star Ideas

Star Ideas are taken from our publication Fully Booked by Eileen Armstrong.

April: Read All About It

Read anything and everything, anywhere and everywhere.

Activities for April might include:

  • Start a words on the wall campaign; posting extracts of books in strategic places around the school; canteen, toilet doors, main entrances
  • Start a "stories in the news" board outside the library and invite staff and students to choose the most important or attention-grabbing stories of the day
  • Make screensavers of booktasters to attract attention to new books in the library
  • Catch staff and students reading unusual things in unusual places on camera and display poster versions prominently around the school. Try it out and about in the community too (with permission!) to include people reading bus timetables, txt msgs, letters, shopping lists in the supermarket, restaurant menus, notices etc, catch bosses with minutes in a meeting, at the doctor's...
  • Create short snappy video adverts of staff and students talking about what they're reading or why they read
  • Start a library weblog and encourage students to contribute
  • Start a reading group which reads anything BUT fiction...
  • Create reading bags containing a magazine, book, game, website etc around genres, interests or themes for resistant readers or encourage students to create these for younger students in feeder schools
  • Run breakfast clubs with lots of newspapers available
  • Design a newspaper front page reporting on events/characters in your favourite book
  • Organise a trip to a local newspaper office
  • Carry out a survey of staff/student favourite newspapers and magazines or websites. Display the results or announce them in assembly

May: Mind and Body

Celebrate the links between reading and health in May

Activities for May might include:

  • Use the resources on the National Literacy Trust  Sport webpages to find great football stories to read and a downloadable football shaped review template.
  • Divide year groups into teams to see who can read the most this month
  • Work with the PE teachers to organize lunchtime story readings in the gym
  • Produce stories for special situations lists or book collections for the school counsellor to promote
  • Concentrate on "issues" fiction in this month's reading groups meetings and create reading trails for problem situations; drugs, teen pregnancy, abuse, bullying, eating disorders, addiction, divorce etc.
  • Create a healthy menu for a balanced reading diet - poems for starters, a classic for the main...
  • Create a recipe for a good read - plot, character etc. Discuss the health benefits of your recipe.
  • Run a reading promotion around cookery books for children
  • Organize a "this house believes nothing is too sensitive an issue to be tackled in fiction" debate
  • Devise dilemmas and problem page letters with replies for book characters or stage Jeremy Kyle style shows for characters with problems to solve
  • Take the temperature of a book - mapping your emotions in a diary as you read
  • Appoint student book doctors to prescribe books to suit your mood

June: Reading Escapes

The holiday season is upon us and the hot holiday reads will be top of the lists. Reading Escapes is a chance to focus on holiday reading or how reading helps you escape into different worlds.

Activities for June might include:

  • Choose books to take on a desert island - involve staff and students and create a giant beach display in the foyer or library
  • Put deckchairs in the school foyer and creating a comfy reading space
  • Run a competition to discover the most unusual place readers have read a book - run this over the summer holidays and display the photographic results in September!
  • Encourage students to send postcards of reading suggestions to the year group below and publish the suggestions for parents on the school website
  • Organize a reading passport scheme for students to read around the world of books
  • Choose reading recommendations for key members of staff
  • Compile top 10 bestseller charts for different countries around the world
  • Display reading recommendations on giant footprints around the school
  • Display labelled staff book choices in a suitcase
  • Feature stories in translation
  • Run a quiz to guess the book title in translation or identify the foreign cover

July: Rhythm and Rhyme

Celebrate poetry and lyrics from Shakespeare sonnets to pop songs.

Activities for July might include:

  • Storm classrooms unannounced with drama students to recite a poem
  • Create podcasts of staff and students' favourite poems
  • Make photo montages of items mentioned in poems and song lyrics
  • Invite child care students to join in rhyme time sessions at local public libraries
  • Run poetry lunches in the library with staff performing their favourite poems
  • Summarize favourite stories in a short poem
  • Create a library anthology of readers' favourite poems and songs
  • Play music in the library at lunchtimes
  • Create a poetry juke box on the library internet featuring live performances and interviews with poets
  • Run a performance poetry X Factor competition in the library for staff and students
  • Create a soundtrack for your favourite book, justifying the inclusion of every track
  • Create poetry trails with topical poems displayed in every department
  • Run a Top of the Poems poll in school to find your favourites by year group. Display the results in the foyer or announce in assembly
  • Recite a rhyme for a school (or book-based) charity
  • Plant a Poetree in the school foyer and watch it sprout leaf poems
  • Put up poetry washing lines and hang clothes-shaped poems

August: Read the Game

With the Commonwealth Games on their way and the start of the football season in August this is the perfect time to build links between sports and reading.

Activities for August might include:

  • Divide year groups into teams to see who can read the most this month
  • Challenge students to read from different genre divisions; complete scorecards, nominate characters for a dream team and draw up league tables of winning readers with Player of the Month prizes
  • Recommend reads from and based in featured countries. Create a reading passport and large map in the foyer with flags to mark individual readers' progress
  • Offer bronze, silver and gold medals to individual readers and tutor groups reading most this month
  • Contact local sports celebrities to find out their favourite reads
  • Reward resistant readers for their reading progress with a trip to a local sports centre or sportsground
  • Conduct a reading survey at your local sports centre
  • Subscribe to a range of sports magazines

September: You are what you read

Reading is a great way to celebrate and explore cultural, personal and local identities.

Activities for September might include:

  • Display who's reading what on every teacher's classroom and office door in the school, including senior management
  • Conduct a reading survey in the local shopping centre or public library to find out what or how often people read and why
  • Create collages of favourite things that make up you - including things you read
  • Map your life so far through your reading material
  • Discuss secret reading habits; where, when, how long for, what, why… try this as a spin the bottle game at a reading group
  • Survey students about magazines to buy regularly for the library - what new titles do they think would be popular and why?
  • Try on other lives for size; try who am I? guessing games to guess the book character and hotseating
  • Choose books to match your star sign/personality
  • Run a Book Brother debate with online voting; which book characters should go in the Book Brother house and what should the eviction order be?
  • Organize speed dating events for recommending books
  • Recommend good reads for a best friend/worst enemy/celebrity
  • Bookpushing; hold a regular book slot in assembly with staff and students presenting their favourite current read
  • Join the reading champions/angels scheme

October: Word of mouth

Celebrate storytelling, reading out loud, reading together and live literature.

Activities for October might include:

  • Invite local bookstore staff into school to promote favourite or new reads
  • Create podcasts of favourite extracts from books, getting staff involved as well as students
  • Share an author visit with neighbouring schools
  • Create vox pops - short snappy reading and book ads by staff and students broadcast over the school network or in assemblies
  • Encourage every teacher to start every lesson with a two minute who's reading what slot
  • Read aloud to a class for twenty minutes every day
  • Encourage senior management to share reading suggestions at the start or end of every school meeting
  • Hold a library sleepover with storytelling all night
  • Hold an evening bring-a-teddy storytime with cocoa
  • Make links with local nurseries to share picture books
  • Create a picture book for children at a local nursery and read it to them
  • Have students' book reviews published in the local paper or displayed in the local bookstore
  • Create bookbelly bands and shelftalkers featuring students and staff recommendations
  • Create if you like this, you'll love... bookmarks to encourage further reading
  • Start an online discussion or videoconference with a reading group in another school - locally, nationally or internationally
  • Suggest a book of the day - on screensavers, homepages, posters or in assemblies
  • Link author interviews and live readings to the library website
  • Design library postcards for sending reading recommendations
  • Join in a local book award to compare your views with other readers or take part in the Kids' Lit Quiz to find out what's new
  • Set up your own in-school version of Bookcrossing

November: Screen Reads

Explore the diversity of reading and writing; scripts, television and films.

Activities for November might include:

  • Make a photostory of your favourite book
  • Imagine your favourite book into a film - cast, location, advertising, music...
  • Script your favourite scenes from a book and act them out or use freezeframing
  • Organize a trip to the cinema to see the adaptation of a book
  • Hold a "this house believes the book is always better than the film" debate
  • Write reviews of films for the local or school newspaper
  • Start a reading group to focus on books of the films and films of the books
  • Expand your library DVD collection to include films of books
  • Hold after-school "film of books" showings for staff with refreshments and copies of the book for sale

December: Write the Future

What one person writes, others read, and technology is bringing reading and writing closer together. The year ends with a celebration of all forms of writing.

Activities for December might include:

  • Set up a creative writing group
  • Explore fanfiction sites with a reading group
  • Debate the future of books in a digital society
  • Download first chapters from publishers' websites and predict what will happen next
  • Create podcasts of opening chapters from books for the library website
  • Create an anthology of original writing inspired by students' reading
  • Expand your selection of books on CD or for download
  • Write reviews of favourite books in txt spk and display the comments on the bookcovers
  • Set up a reading club bookblog
Updated August 2017