This World Book Day, I approached the Senior Leadership Team at The Outdoors School and asked a question that I’ve wondered since the school opened (and often been asked): in the context of an entirely outdoor education, how do you approach literacy in the woods? I love Forest School but have often found myself curious about the actual mechanics of ‘teaching’ in this environment. Luckily, P Wilkins, our esteemed SENDCO was kind enough to spare us some time in answering this question! She says….
Reading for pleasure is our main aim. We want our learners to be able to lose themselves in a book: to visit new places, to be inspired by their heroes or learn fascinating new information.
Reading and Literacy is also the gateway to being able to function in the world, contribute to society and is a huge focus for us at The Outdoors School, as this is often something our young people have missed out on.
Staff and learners enjoy daily reading time together as well as sharing a group book that links to their project. Learners can earn points and rewards by taking quizzes about the books they have read through the Accelerated Reading programme. One learner has chosen a bird identification book as his reward and another, earned a box of mini dinosaurs for completing the most quizzes in the whole school!
We also have a regular Book Club run by our Literacy Lead that has been able to continue online. This has helped our learners to keep in touch with each other, as well as their staff. We are gradually building up a library on both sites for both learners and staff, as well as adding to the different ways learners can access books through the use of ipads and laptops.
This year, for World Book Day, all our learners will receive their book tokens and our staff have been asked to dress up as their favourite book characters and share the stories and books that inspired them. The sites are also running a competition to see which learner can identify the most characters! Photographs to follow… (can’t wait to see them! – editor)
Author: P Wilkins, SENDCO at The Outdoors School
Date: Thursday 4th March 2021