We have had a few requests for tips about what worked in our first trial last year. The Storybox access worked a treat with our younger readers and that’s a great resource in 2021 too. Access to enough copies of the texts was a problem during lockdown and we hope we have addressed that this year but working around this will be a key driver for success.
One strategy that worked last year was peer learning with students working in multi-age groups and supporting each other with their investigations into the titles.
These students reported that they read more widely than they usually would have, exploring books outside of their usual genres. It really assisted them to analyse texts and to discover that a text can be responded to in multiple ways. Last year’s website has some great examples of such work and you can follow this link to them. The board game designed around the novel Four Dead Queens stands out as a great inter-disciplinary activity which enabled a high degree of collaboration and analysis. It’s a great model for schools looking for a different approach – well done Loreto Ballarat!
The students also formed new friendships, including ones with students from different year levels. Remote learning during lockdown whilst not desirable also brought some benefits, with virtual meetings gave them a creative and social outlet that they wouldn’t have otherwise had. The teacher feedback was that these students developed a greater understanding of the CBCA criteria and judging process and this was of special interest to the many keen writers in the group.
The students were also inspired to write book reviews independently from the program and they opted to develop creative responses, which were published in the school magazines, also in the local newspaper’s magazine and on the online book review site “Goodreads”.
Good luck in 2021!