Posted by: Bill Lord | June 30, 2010


I have been meaning to blog about an idea for ‘teachread’ for days. Last week I was lucky enough to run a course for Literacy consultants on the use of picture books in the Primary classrooms and found that, as usual, I had a wonderful time talking about new picture books but also moved onto discussing ‘killer’ books. What we meant by killer books were those of which the delegates thought that all teachers should be aware as they would grab children by the mind. As teachers many of us can point to the time when a teacher showed us the world of reading and the wonders which lay within it. Unfortunately, some of us can also remember a time in our lives when reading became nothing more than a chore or mechanistic act devoid of joy, awe or exploration.  We spent time on the course sharing books which would bring this joy to children in our area.

At the same time as this I was tweeting about books and the response from my PLN was so positive that I posed the question whether there was a call for some form of discussion on twitter or through a blog / wiki of books. The response was immediate and positive with offers of support, lists of books and even setting up a blog site. I did a trawl of twitter looking for an equivalent and couldn’t find anything that provided a space for teachers, teaching assistants, librarians, parents, grandparents and those generally interested in children’s literature to chat about or share the titles of great books.

As I tweeted with members of my PLN about books I began to clarify my vision of how it could work in my own mind. At present I blog fairly irregularly about books which could be used to support teaching in specific years or to support specific topics and sometimes find myself regretting that, at times, my posts are missing a genuine sense of awe about the way in which a book is written or the impact that the book has had on me or a child reading it.

I will never forget reading the wonderful book Shadow of the Minotaur by Alan Gibbons and being unable to allow myself to sleep until I finished it at 2 in the morning. (Indeed in 2000 it won the Blue Peter book award in the ‘book I couldn’t put down’ category.)  I don’t want to turn this into a glorified book review so will move on but what I am looking for is to develop a buzz around books using Twitter. The idea would be that rather, as at present, focusing on how the book could be used for teaching I want to focus on good books which will fire children up.

I am aware that there are discussion groups on Twitter such as #edchat (on Tuesdays) and #ukedchat (on Thursday nights 8-9pm BST) if you are not aware of #ukedchat please take two minutes to visit I think that a different way to run it would be to have the hashtag #teachread and encourage to post on Wednesdays without having an organised discussion time. I would just love to see a day where people drop in when and where they can.

Obviously I am a Primary Practitioner so my experience and personal interest would take me from board boards aimed at babies up to books used in Key Stage 3 but I am hoping that the idea of teachread will soon expand across all ages driven by those tweeting and the books suggested.

I would love to know what people think. I am looking at using a blog or wiki to collect all of the suggestions made. I even am beginning to suspect that the title of the conversation is wrong and should be joyread, readnow, ourbooks or something else. I would love to know what you think – let me know!

I have also created a voicethread for people to leave comments on – the intention was to embed it into this blog post but I am not wise enough to work out what I am doing wrong so a link will have to suffice!!



  1. I know what you mean, teachread isn’t a great name for it, but it would appeal to Twitter teachers as it is along the same lines as other ‘teach’s like map or meet.
    The name doesn’t matter too much really, any that you suggest would work.
    As someone that doesn’t read very much, I would love to have a way of finding which books I could use in the classroom and get children excited. I think whether you blog or wiki, it needs to be open to all, searchable and maybe categoriesed into genre/age/whatever.
    I want something simple so I can find a book for my year 4 class straight away, easier the better.

    It’s a great idea and I’ll be keen to see how it develops!

    • I suspect that we now need to think very hard about whether to go for a blog with multiple permissions for people to amend or a wiki (which is very new and scary to me!!!!)
      I do think we need to move with this though

      • Don’t let wikis scare you! If you can blog, you can definitely do a wiki…. wikispaces are a good starting point – if you sign up you can have a play around without making it public and there are lots of helpful guides – for collaboration and co-construction, there’s little can match the potential of a wiki…..

      • I think wiki it is then. I will keep it private until I can get it to work and we have decided upon a suitable name although I think that #read4joy is the front runner.

  2. What a great idea Bill. Count me in. I rediscovered FS children’s joy in My Big Brother by Valorie Fisher this week.

    • Brilliant and that is exactly what I am looking for – “look folks – here is an amazing book which your kids will love!”

  3. Bill, I’m in and really looking forward to the potential new reads that this idea will bring to every classroom that it reaches. So many teachers have not just the well known books, but those hidden gems that are yearning to be made known and let others in on their secrets. Books are a great resource, great books bring learning to life.

    NB You mentioned joyread as a possible #tag how about #read4joy

    • I love read4joy – what do others think?

      • Love read4joy, too.

  4. Hi Bill, count me in. I’m known now in one local school as “the frog lady” after some work we did in year 6 with Tuesday! Those kids were so fired up by the book as they could “read” and retell the story no matter what their reading ability was.

    • What a great book to be named after. My favourite is Flotsam by David Wiesner which is a glorious visit to the seaside.

  5. Hi Bill

    Great idea. Hope you don’t mind me barging in like this but I spotted the link to this post on Twitter thanks to the wonderful Nicola McNee.

    I am a Secondary Assistant Head and I am passionate about getting kids (and especially boys) reading. To this end I started a blog back in October 2009, with the aim of raising awareness of the huge number of boy-friendly books that are out there. The blog has now become a big part of my life but I am enjoying every minute I spend reading and writing for it. If I can be of any help with ‘teachread’ please do not hesitate to ask. You can find me on Twitter as @bookzone

    • Brilliant – it looks as though we are going to be covering birth to nineteen with this!!! It would be interesting to see which books teachers in secondary schools wish Primary teachers would leave for their children to enjoy! You have a new follower on Twitter.

      • I am a DT teacher so have had very little impact on classroom readers. However, back in September we had a new Head of English and now that she has had almost a year to get used to the job she now wants to really raise the profile of the fortnightly reading lessons that the KS3 kids have. With this in mind she asked me if I would provide a book box for their Faculty meeting last night and they have all been tasked with reading a couple of books over the summer. Next year could be a very exciting time for books and reading at my school!

  6. This is a great idea. Teachers are always looking for that ‘killer’ book to hook children but usually feel guilty because they know they don’t read enough ( I include myself in this). We run a ‘book circle’ now in the LA, run with the School’s library service, where teachers indulge in children’s books for a couple hours after school once a term. Teachread would be a digital indulgence :o)

    • I love the idea of digital indulgence – I think that this will catch on as a technical term.

  7. You can count me in too Bill, it sounds like an excellent and very worthwhile project. I am primary trained but currently work with S4, 5 and 6 in a special school. I love seeking out hidden gems and would be delighted to share!!

    As for the tag, #read4joy not bad. If you like the TeachMeet approach but not loving #teachread, how about #readmeet (or as I was typing, even just #readme ?)

    • I like those suggestions as well especially #readme. Also the thought of uncovering hidden gems is an exciting prospect.

  8. Sounds like a great idea. I like read4joy. Am always looking for great books to read, both topic related and just for enjoyment.

    • You will have so many books to share with us from your 5 a day in your class. Welcome aboard!

  9. I teach in a Secondary school but I have 3 little kids of my own at home and we love to read. Suggestions for our next favourite read would be very welcome!

    • This is one of the exact reasons that I think that we should be going ahead with this idea. You will get so many ideas for your children within weeks. They can even tell us what they think of them!

  10. As someone who joined in on the initial Twitter discussion I’m very enthusiastic 🙂 And read4joy is a great name!!!

    • Brilliant – I agree that read4joy is a super name. I am so excited by all of this!

  11. Great idea! All too often we rob reading of the fun by dissecting to bits so will be wonderful to get some new ideas to fire up children’s enthusiasm.

    • Reading for reading’s sake is too often a missed joy for children.

  12. I think it sounds like a great idea. I’d love to find more books that kids love to read. I miss the times when we’d just read a book as a class for the sake of it. I remember a ghost book about football I read as a kid and re read to the class called the Ice Warrior, set in the future 1980’s !!!! A wonderful book of supernatural short stories.
    I hope Shadow of the Minotair is good Bill..just bought it on Amazon…no pressure!! 🙂

    • You will not be disappointed by Minotaur – it is wonderful!

      • And if your tastes run towards the darker side of Young Adult books Alan Gibbons’ Hell’s Underground series is one of the best horror series out there at the moment.

      • I am forty pages into Scared to Death right now (off to bed to read some more in a moment) so far a very tense and vivid start.

  13. Hows about #TchRecRead #TRR(Teacher Recommended Reads)or #BksTchUse or #Classreads (Double meaning-Class in school & classical/superb)

  14. Great idea! Can I add ‘The mole who knew it was none of his business’ in picturebooks?

  15. This is such a great idea, I’m really looking forward to hearing some great suggestions; I hope I’ll have a couple to add as well.

    • I would really hope that you could add some which may have more a local flavour to your area – I am not aware of books written for children set on the Shetlands so if you have any suggestions I would love to hear them.

  16. All I can say is CAN’T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Count me in – would be great to have more ideas on books for babies too …………No pressure Bill!
    Gives me an excuse to indulge in my passion too.

  17. A fantastic idea Bill – I think inspiring a love for reading is so important – looking forward to hearing more about it and extending my knowledge and book cases!

  18. I think this is a great idea Bill.

    Reading is hugely important and I think that this could turn into an excellent repository for teachers to dip into.

    You may want to look at some of the materials I collated under the #edread hash tag earlier this year.

    You can find everything here:

    I will certainly try to contribute to your project in the near future.

    My first recommend for KS3 or 4 is an obvious but timeless one: To Kill A Mockingbird. I think that it transcends ages and can be used in the English, History, Art, PSHE and Media classrooms. I think it’s really important to encourage students to read books that tackle historical and social issues – it’s part of the way they learn about their world and this book does that in spades.

    Well, good luck with the project, I will be following along avidly. 🙂

  19. As a secondary school librarian I fully endorse your proposal of a regular #tagged time slot to share and promote children’s books to UK Edu. niche.
    So many colleagues do ‘talk’ books but many more don’t have time to wade through what can be a bewildering and overwhelming Market.

    Publisher’s hype and amazing covers so often
    fail to deliver the power of story. Actually as a librarian it is really about getting the right book into the right hands/head at the right time.

    A regular #teachread would be a simple and effective sharing strategy. Contributors should have read the book themselves and not be a PR marketing tool space.

    Good idea

  20. […] – A place to share Moodle coursesPodCamp – An alternative style of unconference#teachread (or should that be #readforjoy?)World of Books – Google […]

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