When it comes to effective strategies for Primary School libraries, I like to take an evidence based approach. When I first established our Primary School library, we saw a 111% increase in students using the library in their own time, over a period of only 3 months! But what kind of strategies can influence this success over the long term? And how can library use be sustainable? Well, it takes a whole school approach, as well as dedicated library strategies. Here at Librarianstale, this is something we excel at.
Using data to develop effective strategies for Primary School libraries
I like to make use of the library management system. This can provide a huge variety of statistics and graphs that should be used as a starting point for any strategies you develop. For example, I have used the library management system to identify individual students that do not use the library very often. These students are then invited personally to attend one of our library events. This could be one of our:
- library lunches
- or reading events
Once the statistics have been provided, these can be used to identify trends and patterns across the whole school. For example, maybe there is a particular class that are using the library less than others? Does this correlate with poorer literacy scores, or reading ages?
Targeted strategies can be developed from the data provided by the library system, and the library itself is one of the best ways to implement this strategy. In the case of a whole class, some of the effective strategies I have developed include:
- Whole class intervention in collaboration with the class teacher to incorporate the library and reading into day to day teaching. This includes establishing an effective reading corner and display in the classroom, and using the library as part of the reward system for the class. Changing the way children think about the library, and making this a positive experience has a huge impact on reading and attainment.
- Involving the whole class in a library event developed around a book suitable for their reading age
- Changing the reading scheme for that class based on their own interests and recommendations
Whole school library strategies
To raise the profile of the library throughout the school takes the backing of senior management, and the class teachers. Some whole school strategies I have implemented include:
- Reading displays in every classroom related to what the children are reading and enjoying. To be effective these need to be updated regularly.
- A reading corner in every classroom, including class 6. While the infant reading corner can be combined with play, the junior reading corner needs to be a relaxing and comfortable zone for reading.
- Reading rewards that link to the class reading, as well as the library participation.