How your school library software can promote wider reading experiences

  By Reading Cloud Customer Success   - Friday 12 January 2024

Giving primary school children a lifelong love of reading for pleasure demands breaking out beyond the book covers. Online reading tools create and drive engagement strategies which foster a wider reading culture, boost communication, and strengthen your school’s sense of community.

Reading for pleasure in primary schools and at home can be both a solitary skill and an engaging, cross-curricular activity. Reading-based events should be a significant part of reading engagement strategies – and online tools for the promotion of reading, such as Reading Cloud, can play a major role in making these effective, successful, and simpler to manage.

The key to key events

From World Book Day to National Poetry Day and the increasingly popular Talk for Reading, there are a number of key events designed to promote reading and encourage students in their reading and writing.

Creating optimum engagement with these events requires effective schoolwide communication to raise awareness and stimulate excitement. An effective and comprehensive online library system for schools can help to ensure success, without the often associated stress.

One considerable advantage of using this type of program for event organisation is that it can’t be lost at the bottom of a school bag. Nor does it put undue time pressure on teachers to write letters to parents and carers. Teachers and library staff are free to prepare promotional content in advance when they have time, then make use of the scheduling function for publication in the software’s News section – allowing plenty of time for costume making or cake baking, and helping to drive engagement.

However, as every school librarian knows, children searching the library shelves want to be excited as well as informed. So as well as communicating events, library software can be used to create a sense of anticipation. How much more engaging than a note with a date, is a video of memorable moments from the same event in previous years? With more time to prepare, it’s also easier to provide more than just basic information. Drip-feeding news items, updates and reminders via the software program can build the momentum, without tying office staff to the grindstone of repeated letter writing, printing and distribution.

Information posted online is also always accessible for parents and carers to refer to. Unlike that letter which may not even have made it home.

Going beyond the book

Developing a wider reading culture and higher literacy levels goes beyond the book, beyond the school library and library services, and out into the wider school, teaching and parental community.

That is why a good library solution like Reading Cloud has to be so much more than simply primary school library software. As a powerful online library system, it is a boon for library staff tasked with library management. But as a source of a wide range of reading and writing skills information, activities and support, it also aids teachers, young people, parents and carers, and helps to build your school’s community through reading.

When engaging children in reading for pleasure engaging parents is crucial, and library software is as effective at supporting learning at home as it is at school. Accessible on any device via an app, it can be integrated into students’ lives during the school day and beyond. In this valuable shared space for parents and pupils, together they can find a variety of resources and stimuli, ranging from recommended book lists to book trailer and author talk videos, to a featured word or fact of the day.

The recommended books list, for example, can encourage children to read more widely – exploring similar books to those being read in school, or different books by the same authors. Or suggested role-playing activities can help bring books and their characters to life in the mind of the child.

Though reading for pleasure is the raison d’être of these software programs, they also have a wider function. Students who read become students who sit exams. In the run-up to SATS, Reading Cloud, for example, can support young people with helpful articles on exam stress or mental health, with useful revision tips, and other relevant resources. Students can also use the online reading tool as a safe space to share experiences and support.

Though reading for pleasure is a gift for life that is largely enjoyed alone, the popularity of Book Clubs shows that it can also be a pleasure shared. One school demonstrated this effectively with a schoolwide World Book Day-linked event.

The first chapter of a book – chosen for the gripping quality of its opening – was read aloud at the first assembly of a half-term period. Chapters were then read by the pupils themselves, week by week, with the breathtaking resolution in the final chapter saved for a whole-school end-of-term assembly.

Though undoubtedly a success, the initiative made sizeable demands on teachers’ time. With the help of appropriate online support, those demands could have been reduced while at the same time the excitement, anticipation and community aspects of the event could have been enhanced. Reminders, children’s plot predictions, videos of teachers reading and much more could all have been delivered as online resources, and allowed teachers to fit their tasks conveniently into their own schedules.

Reading between the lines

For young people, reading for pleasure in primary school means much more than words on a page. For primary school teachers and library staff, effective software to encourage reading does much more than an online library system.

It brings reading alive. It supports staff by helping them to be more efficient in their efforts to encourage reading. It helps to create a reading culture. And it helps to build a better school community, with reading as a foundation stone.

Find out how to make the most of reading in your primary school, with our primary school library software.