Ann is Principal Librarian at Monmouthshire Libraries. She attended a Read to Lead course hosted by Monmouthshire Comprehensive School in August 2009.
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that Read to Lead training was a life-changing experience for me: as well as learning the practical tools needed to deliver shared reading sessions, I found myself sharing a lot of personal stuff, and being shared with by others. Even though I didn’t really know anyone, I felt like an equal member of the group. I’d never experienced anything like it.
Speaking from a professional point of view, Read to Lead fits into our new strategy – Libraries Inspire – which has shifted its focus away from information and education and towards reading. We are especially interested in reading for pleasure with children and families, adults with learning needs and reading for health and wellbeing.
Read to Lead re-energised me. You can get so bogged down, ticking other people’s boxes, but this helped me to focus on what is important and helped to build what we hope will be lasting partnerships. I’m currently working on a bid to get many more librarians in Monmouthshire trained.
Norman Ross is Prison Literacies Liaison Officer in the Library Support Unit at the Highland Council. He attended the Read to Lead Residential in September 2009.
Read to Lead training has expanded and enhanced the nature of my work, no doubt. I’ve always had a broad definition of what literacy is, and was used to running groups as part of my job, but Read to Lead and the shared reading model added a whole new dimension to my role. I now run a group at HMP Inverness Porterfield, and have been so impressed by seeing the model at work that I secured funding to commission a special Read to Lead course in Inverness in March 2011. Training in the shared reading is essential: the process seems simple, when it’s done well, but beneath this there are complex capabilities involved.
Gordon Carrick is Learning Support Librarian at Maida Vale Library, Westminster. He attended the Read to Lead London Open Course in January 2011.
This course equipped me with the whole range of skills and, just as importantly, the confidence needed to run a shared reading group at Maida Vale Library. On a very practical level, I’m now better at reading aloud to children, something I do a lot of in my job as a librarian. In particular, in tune with the course mantra I now read more slowly, which reveals the delights of the story in a very immediate way. Most gratifyingly, the sense of accomplishment and purpose which I get from running my group has spilled over into a general increase in my job satisfaction.
I have to say that the absolute best thing about the training was the wonderful atmosphere of mutual support and generosity, skilfully engendered by the trainers and embraced both individually and collectively by the trainees. Everything fitted together in a perfect blend of theory and practice.
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