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Book ownership makes a difference

Reading widely and often across a range of text types and genres gives children the tools and vocabulary they need to fully access the whole curriculum as they move through their education. The key to success though is that a child can take pleasure in their reading.

Reading for pleasure is a greater indicator of achievement than the socio-economic background. However, children need easy access to a range of books to be able to develop this habit of choosing to read for enjoyment.

Those children who have books at home are both more likely to enjoy reading and have higher reading skills than those who do not. Yet, according to recent research by the National Literacy Trust disadvantaged children are less likely than their peers to own books.

Putting books into the hands and homes of local children

As a supplier of resources to schools in the eastern region, we maintain a large collection of books. As any librarian will tell you, collection management and planning are a crucial part of what we do. Whatever the size of your library, removing stock that is over your requirements is the only way to maintain a collection that meets the current needs of your customers. It is a complicated and difficult business made all the harder by that emotional pull that books have.

We have always disposed of books responsibly by donating to charities or recycling. We however felt strongly that the biggest impact would be made by getting them directly into the hands and homes of local children who may not otherwise have a book to call their own.

To this end, we passed approximately 500 books to Chadwell St Mary’s Primary School! Mostly fiction or poetry, all were age-appropriate for primary age children and all in good (though not new) condition.

Book bundles and daily poetry

The school decided to identify those children most in need and who did not have access to books at home. Seventy-three children received a bespoke book bundle containing four to six books that matched their interests and reading ability.

“The children have been so pleased, and this has made such a big difference especially during this current lockdown when some children are not attending schools and libraries are closed”.

Christina PumfreyExecutive Headteacher, Chadwell St Mary’s Primary School

To ensure impact across the school, the poetry books are used in a new project – The Daily “P”! A daily poem for pleasure, play, and progress. Teachers and children from each class select a daily poem. The teacher reads the chosen poem aloud modeling fluency, expression, tone, intonation, and volume. New words, the poet, and themes are discussed. Finally, the class takes a vote to see if the children enjoyed listening to the poem with class poetry monitors responsible for recording the vote outcome.

“We are so truly grateful for the donation from Juniper and it has made a real difference to every child in our school”

Christina PumfreyExecutive Headteacher, Chadwell St Mary’s Primary School.

community book gifting.

To be considered for future community book gifting please register your interest by contacting the Education Resources Service. You should be able to fulfil the following criteria:

  • Have a high proportion of children on Pupil Premium.
  • Be located in Essex, Southend or Thurrock and able to collect the books from our facility in Witham, Essex.
  • Be able to demonstrate that the books will be given to children for them to keep at home. These books are not donated to boost school library or book corner collections.
  • Commit to providing us with a short case study showing the impact the collection has made to children’s reading, education achievement and wellbeing.
Contact us
Sally Harrison

Sally Harrison

Sally is the Education Resources Service Manager for Juniper Education. She has worked in primary school and public libraries for 17 years and as a children’s book reviewer. She is a chartered librarian, a member of the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians and has been a board member of the School Library Association.

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