We are extremely proud of our links with local schools, and we get approached very often by schools who wish to partner with us in promoting literacy and celebrating books and reading. Our most popular services seek to match authors visiting our area to go into schools as part of a school author visit.
Author visits are popular and when they work well can motivate children to read and transform the way children look at books and reading.
New for 2015! Guidelines for Successful School Visits
We were very lucky in 2014 to be given a grant from the James Patterson Independent Bookshop donation, specifically to help authors, schools, publishers and bookshops to maximise the benefits from school events.
We analysed over 80 school events that we have been involved in, as well as talking to other booksellers, authors and schools.
The result is our School Author Visit - Helpful Guidelines - and we've made it available to anyone (bookshops, schools, publishers, authors) interested in improving their school event.
The idea is simple - we know that everyone gets the most out of a school event when interests align:
- Schools get a literacy boost after they host an event
- Authors have less stress when an event goes well
- Publishers are able to make more authors available to schools
- Booksellers are able to develop positive (and profitable) relationships with their local schools
As far as Mostly Books is concerned, if you are school that wants to host an event - please download and complete the questionnaire first.
This isn't an exam, or some sort of extra 'hurdle' to enable you to 'win' an event from us. We have organised many events for schools over the years - and we have a lot of expertise and best-practice to offer. We believe that if you spend time reading through and (honestly) answering these questions, we will be better able to match an author to your school, with the best possible chance of giving your school the buzz about reading amongst children that a well-run, well-supported author event can deliver.
We can endeavour to arrange an author to come to your school free of charge. And a good school author event can change the way children view books - and increase their chances of reading for pleasure.
A school visit may not be possible - and demand always outweighs our ability to supply authors. But there are plenty of other initiatives that can deliver big literacy benefits - and can be a great deal of fun...
Here are some suggestions:
Promote a Family Reading Group to parents
In 2014, we introduced the concept of a Family Reading Group. The idea is to give families the idea and support for taking time regularly to sit down with books. Children see their parents reading, and time and space is created to allow children to discover favourite books. Learn more about this initiative here.
"Everyone can do something - just ten minutes reading a day with a child makes a huge difference and helps them fall in love with reading." - ReadOnGetOn
Bring in a local expert to help with selection for your school library and get your pupils involved in boosting library selection.
Everyone loves a new book! Whether its people longing to read the latest David Walliams, or whether it’s a child who can never quite find the right book in the library that they want to read – new titles can be very inspiring to encourage children to give a new book a chance. Research has shown that allowing children to browse, choose and then read a book themselves has huge implications for things like curiosity and creativity. Libraries and bookshops are great places for this to happen!
Hold a competition to design the book jacket or write a blurb that describes the book they most would like to read – it can be one they’ve read before that isn’t in the school library, or they can make one up. Children can pay £1 to enter and the money raised can be spent on new books and Mostly Books can look at all the entries and suggest a range of titles that best reflect the choices your children are making. Parents Teacher Associations are usually brilliant at matching any funds raised.
Hold a Sponsored Readathon
You don’t just have to celebrate books around World Book Day (although it’s a great focus when you get those £1 vouchers). Next time you hold a school activity, eg a school fair, why not set aside a quiet corner for sponsored reading? Get children involved, but also teachers and parents as well - when children see adults reading it makes them think books are part of the grown-up world.
Picture books, chapter books, poetry – see how long reading can be kept up at your school over the course of a day. Get as many people involved as possible. Why not have a sponsored mass read? Invite as many children as possible to spend a break time reading, or an hour reading. Stop school for an hour and get the whole school to read! See how long your school can read for. Asking people for sponsorship helps raise money for new books for the library.
Host a book fair
One of the most popular services Mostly Books offers to schools is to bring in a selection of all the latest and best of the new reads - and run a book fair. Our job is to meet with all those publishers, attend conferences and book fairs and to read, read, read, to discover all the very best and latest in children’s books.
We can bring a selection to your school and either leave them for the children to browse – or invite us in for a talk to your children about all the discoveries that are getting us excited.
There are plenty of brilliant but simple ideas that can generate buzz about books in your school. Share you ideas, or invite us in for a chat about how uniting local schools with local, independent expert booksellers is having a significant impact on literacy at other schools in the area.
Make your school a champion of literacy by inspiring a love of reading!