On Wednesday 6th December 2017, 100 primary school teachers, librarians and other educators from across the county attended a full one-day conference produced by Shrewsbury Bookfest. Delegates gathered at the University Centre Shrewsbury to hear a superb line-up of renowned speakers and literacy specialists focusing on inspiring children to read for pleasure.
Shrewsbury Bookfest’s aim of the conference was for delegates to see, hear and meet leading figures and authors from the world of children’s literature and education in order to gain inspiration and share ideas on how to help children develop a life-long love of reading.
Ali McGowan, Schools’ Co-ordinator at Shrewsbury Bookfest, said: “We were incredibly excited to bring such a special event to Shropshire and to all of our hardworking teachers. We are proud of the programme that was put together and it offered an informative, interactive and memorable day for all involved.”
Sophie Peach, Chair of Shrewsbury Bookfest says: “In partnership with University Centre, Shrewsbury we were thrilled to welcome to the town some of the leading professionals in children’s literacy. This conference was unlike anything else currently taking place in the county and offered teachers the chance to explore and develop their own classroom skill set for interpreting contemporary fiction.”
The day consisted of keynote talks from renowned national speakers, including:
Nicolette Jones, children’s book reviewer for the Sunday Times for over 20 years and nominated for the Eleanor Farjeon Award for outstanding service to children’s books, who gave the Keynote Address, ‘Secret Rooms – Why Children Need Books’;
Professor Allan Owens, Co-Director of the Centre for Research into Education, Creativity and the Arts through Practice at the University of Chester, who also led a workshop.
Christopher Edge, an award-winning children’s author, spoke on ‘How Children’s Books Can Change the World’
There were also a series of topic-focused workshops:
Mathew Tobin, Senior Lecturer in English and Children’s Literature at Oxford Brookes University led a workshop titled: ‘Picture books for older readers: What we’re all missing out on’
Karen Howell, Education and Arts Consultant, led a workshop on ‘Teaching Art in the Classroom’
Film-maker Aaron Child led a workshop on ‘Helping Students Explore Film-Making’.
A number of local services and supporters of reading in schools also attended the conference and provided further information and resources.
Shrewsbury Bookfest is a registered charity. The Building a Buzz About Books Conference also marked the official launch of its Book Award 2018 reading development project for primary schools. The Bookfest Book Award is a highly successful project that has been run every two years in primary schools across Shropshire since 2010. It has been proved to have had a significant impact on inspiring children to read. Nearly 2,000 children will take part in Book Award 2018 reading, reviewing and voting for their favourite book from a nominated shortlist. The project has been underpinned by funding from trusts and foundations and generous sponsorship from NFU Mutual and Hatfields Jaguar Shrewsbury.
Shrewsbury Bookfest is a registered charity and does not seek to profit from its work. Its growing reputation with national organisations such as The Guardian, publishers, children’s authors and illustrators as being well-run, well managed has underpinned its success in seeking funding from trusts, foundations and sponsors. Ticket prices for this conference were therefore capped at just £50 per delegate (including lunch).
What? A conference for teachers and educators, to inspire ideas and celebrate all that is good about reading for primary school aged children.
When? Wednesday 6th December 2017, 9:30am – 4:30pm
Where? University Centre Shrewsbury, Guildhall, Frankwell, SY3 8HQ
Who is this for? For all teachers, leaders, librarians and educators interested in the teaching of reading and helping children develop a life-long love of books. The day concluded with the reveal of Shrewsbury Bookfest’s Big Book Award 2018 shortlist for those schools and teachers taking part in this project. (The conference was open to both those participating and not participating in Book Award 2018).
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. ¹