I went to the Oxford Reading Spree. I have to say it was wonderful. It was a completely joyous event. An event built from passion, from a collective passion that reading is the most important thing we do in schools and that Reading can change lives. In the course of the day I heard loud and clear the need for children to read and be exposed to challenging texts (I think I may have said it myself) and the power of Reading to open doors to understanding and knowledge.
I had never been to Oxford before. Lots of committed professionals gave up their time on a weekend to further their understanding of Reading and to share a common passion for books. Oxford was actually swimming with professionals doing just that both at the Spree and ResearchEDlang. That we have teachers who have that commitment to their profession and to developing their knowledge and understanding of the job makes me very proud. The Day was full of brilliance.
@MaryMyatt and her commitment to push all readers with amazing, challenging books.
@Andrew_Moffat was both funny and compassionate on the power of great books to challenge thinking and to explore equality. He cost me a significant amount of money in his brilliant recommendations,
@Mat_at_Brookes. On digging deeper into picturebooks. and in particular IMO one of the best picturebooks that came out last year. Anybody who shared Sanna’s The Journey with Mat at the Spree will understand what an amazing book it is for developing an understanding of the plight of refugees. It makes its themes instantly accessible to younger readers, yet has a truly powerful emotional core.
I then missed lots of other fantastic people doing workshops such as @templarwilson and @rapclassroom. but that was because I got the honour of interviewing @PiersTorday. I did my best Parkinson and let him do the talking. It was fab and insightful into the writing process. I was blown away that his first book went through 14 drafts. Equally important was how life experiences and our reading journey impact on how we write. This confirmed that unwritten rule for me that to get great writers we need great readers,
I crept in late to Mini Grey’s session with a plateful of the best grub ever. Curled up sandwiches this was not. To see Mini sharing both her passion for creative books and the brilliance of Paper-craft was fantastic. Again to get an authors insight into their process was a fantastic privilege
@nickswarb then shared with us the importance of parents in supporting reading, and the best Kylie joke.
@GalwayMr Opened his heart to us discussing that “Reading is a many Splendoured thing. He enthused about the importance and power of poetry and made us all cry, well me anyway.
That left @marygtroche to round-up a brilliant day by sharing the importance of making room to explore texts and develop thinking around them. She was also brilliantly funny.
Overall the day was an absolute joy Thanks @EdFinch for a day that reaffirmed my belief in the importance of making children real readers.
As @Alibrarylady tweeted following the “debate”
“Catching up on reading debate Learning how to read is different to becoming a ‘reader’. I think
#OxReadingSpree concentrated on the latter”
I would wholeheartedly agree with this I came away from an amazing day of learning with a fire in my belly to make the children not just able to read but to be readers. That’s what the Spree was about, the importance of reading and power of books to open up a child’s mind and heart.