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Award-Winning Author Offers Students his Insights to Get Children Reading

A successful author shared his thoughts on the importance of children’s reading and the role teachers can play in inspiring a love of literature, with trainee teachers studying at the University of Worcester.

Andy Seed, a former teacher himself, spoke with students on the PGCE Primary course about his own books, but also the impact that reading can have on young people’s lives, witnessed in his former career.

Andy said: “This talk gave me an opportunity to pass on insights into something which I believe is fundamentally important, not only to schools but to society in general: reading for pleasure. I saw in the audience a hunger to get to know children’s books and to start using them in creative ways in the classroom.

“Fewer and fewer young people are choosing to read and yet it remains the single most powerful force for shaping their future lives in positive ways. Teachers can influence children in regard to this but will only do so if they understand both the importance of it and the need to become readers of children’s books themselves.”

Andy is the author of more than 30 books including The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff, which won the 2015 Blue Peter Book Award, and the acclaimed funny children's novel Prankenstein. He taught for 17 years before pursuing a writing career in 2001.

Research by The National Literacy Trust has found that children who say they own a book are 15 times more likely to read above the level expected for their age than their peers who do not.

Andy spoke about how, as a teacher, he saw the benefits of reading to helping children succeed and develop into young people with understanding, knowledge and empathy. He gave examples of how a teacher’s enthusiasm for books can inspire children to read and talked about the importance of knowing about a wide range of books and genres to cater for children’s different tastes and interests. He mentioned ways that reluctant readers can be ‘hooked’ through highly visual texts, small chunks of facts and humour.

“Teacher trainees are important people,” he added. “They’re the next generation of inspirers and role models for the children of tomorrow and so speaking to them is always a great opportunity to pass on experience, enthusiasm and perhaps a little wisdom, gained over many years in working in schools.”

Primary PGCE student Will Saunders, 24, said: “I found the lecture very useful for understanding the range of possible reading styles and genres that are available to children.”

Sharon Lannie, Lecturer in Primary English and module leader for PGCE Primary English at the University of Worcester, and author of Reading at Greater Depth in Key Stage 2, said: “At the University of Worcester we celebrate reading with our trainee teachers as the underlying skill to success. Teachers need to be able to lead by example and our aim is to inspire our trainees to become ‘Reading Teachers’ who will then ignite the passion for reading with their class. We ensure our trainees have the knowledge, skills and drive to do this and Andy’s visit underpinned this.”