• https://www.sla.org.uk/control/uploads/images/natural/300/contained/55e5d74b485bae14ea89867cc32a377e1222dfe05b517541712678d6-1920~1580484955.jpg

CEO 2020 1: The power of reading

27 January 2020 Share

Reading is a powerful thing – many of us know this, and yet it can be something that we take for granted. The power of reading, to illustrate, move, change a thought process or perspective. The wonder of building a unique connection between two brains and leaving an imprint..

Reading is a powerful thing – many of us know this, and yet it can be something that we take so utterly for granted. The ability to read, engage on Twitter or Facebook, to digest the news of the world (whether we like it or not) and to identify people/characteristics/traits that we recognise in each other.

The power of reading, to illustrate, move, change a thought process or perspective. The wonder of building a unique connection between two brains and leaving an imprint; leaving behind something which means that brain will never be quite the same again. The power to build connections between two people; to create lasting bonds...

What a power that is; and what a responsibility on the author… so this blog I'll through my reading piles – just read and currently reading – and give some short insights into the insights they gave me.

In date order I have recently read:

  • Natives by Akala – a book which made me reconsider my view of a personal hero, and recognise the narrow window from which I access world news.
  • Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking by Matthew Syed – it’s given me insights, ideas, and taught me lessons that I am continuing to share with those around me (read my Parliament Week blog from November 2019 for more).
  • Governance and Leadership magazine – a work related read, but one that also makes me pause for thought.
  • Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez –  genuine ‘wow’ moments on top of ‘that can’t be how it works’… a book of passion and data (or lack thereof) which has stayed with me.
  • The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell – a children’s middle grade (8 - 12) book by a brilliant author, and one I enjoyed a lot.
  • The Charity Yearbook – articles on a range of different topics to do with Charity Finance; some great insights.
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo – an amazing book, something different for me, but immaculately plotted; it took me longer to read than usual, but was absolutely worth it.

 

I’m currently reading:

  • Telling Truth to Power by Jess Phillips – which is giving me lots of inspiration and ideas on how to raise the profile of school libraries with those in power.
  • The Membership Database by Michael Collins – very much work related, but it’s an important topic for us.
  • Factfulness by Hans, Anna and Ola Rosling – a different take on facts and the situation the world is in. Some brilliant points, and a different perspective to usual.

Let me know what's on your reading/just read piles! 

These are all materials that have lodged a thought or idea in my brain; in some way I am irreversibly changed from reading them. Some of them are short articles, some of them I read as an audio book, some of them as a physical book… but all have had an impact on me. As adults we read fast and slow, read long and short texts, read ‘easy’ books, and books which stretch us. The books I listened to I didn't not read; I read and enjoyed and have taken them on board. It’s partly the variation and the changing materials that make reading such an enjoyable past-time, and I think that’s what we should be enabling every child to have as well. 

As it happens, as a child I loved a few select information books, but fiction was my main diet, I remember going to my public library and paying a penny per book for a children's, and it was two pence for an adult book! The library was on the first floor of what used to be a big house, and the staircase was wide and swept around the corners of the building. I used to go and read in the library (that way I could snuggle in the window seat and enjoy the quiet) and I'd meet all the amazing friends in the stories, and do all the things I couldn't in real life. It was brilliant to escape and explore and distract me from the things that were on my mind. As we head into Children's Mental Health Week next week, why not choose a few of your favourite titles to promote to pupils?

All children deserve to have a selection of reading materials to choose from, a range of things to reflect their experiences, their mood, their curiosity. In this job I am lucky enough to be overseeing the Information Book Award and the School Librarian of the Year, and both are vital in providing the breadth and range that allow children to fully discover the joys that reading can provide.