School libraries: The heart of a reading culture at Hurupaki School

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Learn how school/teacher librarians and the library can promote and support a school wide reading culture, and in the process close the literacy gap.


Jose Herman: What we're trying to do here at Hurupaki school is promote a culture of reading throughout our school using our library as a base.

Rachel Rahui: We're really lucky at Hurupaki because the principal and the staff the principal and the staff are so enthusiastic about reading.

They're really committed and supportive of the library.

Margaret Holmes: I believe that we have a very strong reading culture at Hurupaki school
and I believe that the library is central to this.

We have statistics, our annual statistics to show that our children are higher achievers
in reading. This includes our Māori and Pasifika children.

In fact we go against the national trend in that we have no tail in that area.

Jose Herman: The collaboration with other teachers is generally at syndicate meetings staff meetings and PD days where we set major topics for the year for the school.

Rachel Rahui: When we're looking at what books teachers are wanting for the library or if they're requesting we talk with them and we find out what they need.

We also use the National Library site which has awesome resources.

We try to show the teachers all our new books at staff meetings in the morning over a cup of tea.

And we have too, when we've received a grant for a big number of books, set them all out on the tables in the library and we've had a morning tea in here and shown the teachers our new books.

Margaret Holmes: I think the success of our library is something that promotes reading culture is having somebody to drive it.

There's got to be a leader. Initially it was me because I'm a trained teacher librarian, I have a passion for this type of learning when I became principal here I realised I couldn't run it myself so I was really lucky to have the fabulous Jose and Rachel to take over.

Rachel Rahui: When I first started it was two books a limit and that's all children could get out.

We want the books out not sitting on the shelves so we've raised our level, which is awesome because the kids can then take something for reading that the teacher has helped them pick a quick reader or something, but they can also go into non-fiction and pick something because they want to look at it so that's been a really big thing for us increasing our loan limit and next year I hope to increase it even more to make it for the seniors they can take out lots more books.

Margaret Holmes: We do know that it has terrific impact on children's reading, their ability to read and it's also about attitudes to learning it's not a linear process they don't have to just read the book that the teacher gives them in their classroom that day they can be self selecting they can come in here, they can choose to read or not to read.

They don't have to read a particular level they don't have to read a particular text, they don't have to do what they don't want to they might just use this as the social hub, but they get drawn in to the things that are going on.

Rachel Rahui: The blog I started this year, we've got an Oliver home page because we're on Oliver and I update the homepage every week with what' happening I always promote a good book on there and a website that I think the kids will enjoy.

Now we're using it to put our author of the week on and things like that as well. The kids are looking there for information. That's been really good fun.

Jose Herman: We know we're on the right track in our library because Monday morning first thing I have kids coming up to me saying you know, what's the quizz about this week, and they're coming in here looking for things to do, they're looking for the latest books that we've been promoting.

We're trying to promote it as a real learning centre and centre where everything in the school sort of happens.

Rachel Rahui: Our library's open every day all day. We timetable library slots for teachers to bring their classes in during the day and while they're in the library they run the library

We've got a booklet on the issues desk, which helps them issuing, returning or looking for books all the information they need is there. I'm here in the afternoons and I help them too.

But during lunchtime the library is run by our wonderful student librarians. We train them and they love being in the library. We set them special little tasks to do.

Each group every day has a different little task from running the library quizz to presenting the winner of the library quizz at assembly so it's always busy, there's always things happening and the kids love coming in at lunchtime it's a social place for them as well

So it's lots of fun.