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Have you ever enthusiastically shared what you’ve recently read with a friend, a colleague or even a bunch of students that just happen to be in the room with you?

If you haven’t ….. you’ve simply got to give it a try!   As the sharing gains momentum, the conversation quickly collects an electrifying  buzz.  The more you rave on about the book you’ve so thoroughly enjoyed, the more the person or group you’re sharing with want to talk about their recent reads too!  One comment feeds off another.  Before you know it, the conversation goes on for longer and longer and the words themselves become contagious!!

As part of a three day Literary Festival I organized at one of the schools I worked at, we threaded such conversations into the program.  Aiming for simplicity, we called the event ‘Read a good book lately?’  It was so simple to organize, but turned out to be one of the most successful sessions.

A call to staff across the school asking for volunteers to talk about their favourite reads with students ended up drawing more teachers than we could accommodate!   Wanting to ensure that we included as many as possible, it was quickly decided to team teachers in pairs.   We also knew, that working in pairs, the teachers would ‘feed’ off each other.  After double checking that the pairs of teachers were happy to team with each other, the only instruction to them was to talk about books and aim to enthuse the students who were listening to them.  This Literary Festival ‘event’ was assigned an hour for three Year 10 classes.  Knowing that teachers could relocate quicker than classes, we gave the teachers a 20 minute time limit before moving into the next class.

It was full on, but wow – was it powerful!   Students saw our senior art teacher trundle in with an overnight bag packed full of books from her home bookshelf – some powerful reads for senior students.   Other teachers had overflowing piles of books in their arms. The art teacher teamed with the special ed teacher while a music teacher teamed with a religion and society teacher and a chemistry teacher teamed with a maths teacher.   The teachers were in their element and the students just lapped it up.   At the end of an hour, all of the Year 10 students had listened entranced to six teachers working outside of their normal roles.  They witnessed and valued the common bond of literature shared by these teachers and the joy that each of them expressed of reading.

We had given the students a magical gift.  Very powerful role modelling was achieved with very little effort.

Give it a go.  If it worked for me, it may also work for you!

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