One of the things I really look forward to in school is our Sharing Stories session. The two Year 6 classes team with the two Reception classes and take it in turns to visit the 'other end' of the school each week. Each child has a reading partner who they sit and share stories with for about twenty minutes.
My job during these sessions is to be ready with books! We try to have as wide a range of texts- fiction and non-fiction- available and all the adults are on hand to make suggestions if needed- but we aren't!
So much good comes from these sessions that it's hard for me to put it all into words. The obvious things are that all the children read and engage with books, all children enjoy the stories, all children are sharing, all children are forming a friendship with a child not of their peer group. Confidence grows, independence develops and enjoyment is high! All positives!
However, this is only the tip of the iceberg! Reluctant readers lose their reluctance; children who do not see themselves as readers suddenly see themselves as readers and the book talk is incredible! Over the weeks, you see magic happen. Younger children who are reluctant to speak start acting stories out with their partners, 'doing the voices'! The 'super cool' older children melt and become as excited about sharing as the little ones are; they start to sit closer together; there is plenty of laughter! The older children start to look out for books they think their partner might enjoy (we're shadowing the Greenaway in Y6 and they love to take some of those with them!) and Reception children rush up to their partners, clutching a book ready to read!
I run two lunchtime 'open house' sessions as well where children from Y 1 and 2 who don't read very often at home are encouraged to come and read with children from Y5 and 6- and come they do! They love the chance to share books in this way!
When we go back on Monday, it will be to the build up to the Y6 SATs; however, our reading sessions will not change. This is time so well spent and so precious you can't put a value on it. It's nothing new, nothing original, involves no expenditure. All it takes is patience, commitment, a selection of books and time. Try it...they'll love it!