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Frank Cottrell Boyce, Patron of Reading at Alsop High School

June 2020

With schools now beginning to reopen, now would be the perfect time to start thinking about a Patron of Reading for the new school year. Please have a look at the list of patrons available and see who would be a good match for your school. We look forward to hearing from you.

November 2019

The crucial role of illustrators is sometimes overlooked in children's books, so we're absolutely delighted that the Patron of Reading initiative will now include Patrons of Illustration. Please help spread the word and, if you're an illustrator who would like to know more, please get in touch.

October 2018

Patron of Reading has now officially gone global. Our very first patrons in the USA and New Zealand were confirmed earlier this month. Exciting times!

August 2018

Patron of Reading Michelle Robinson is working alongside a mother with terminal cancer to publish a children's book about the death of a parent. You can read their inspiring story here.

July 2017

Author and patron Jonathan Emmett has very kindly sent us his write-up of the fantastic Picture Book World Cup which he organised earlier this term. It also comes with links to resources.

December 2016

Please take a minute to read this lovely tribute to author Jonny Zucker, who died earlier this year.

September 2016

The 2016 Patron of Reading conference was a huge success, a huge thank you to everybody who contributed. You can find out more about it on the Conference page of the site.

September 2015

Kate Kiff from Twin Sails Infant School has forwarded on a great presentation that she recently used for promoting the Patron of Reading initiative. Please get in touch if you would like to be sent the original Powerpoint version.

June 2015

Read all about the 'awe-inspiring' launch of the Haringey Patrons of Reading chapter.

March 2015

CJ Busby has suggested a Patron of Reading Book Prize and would be interested in hearing feedback.

February 2015

Useful links from the Patron of Reading conference, 21st February 2015

Guide to successful author visits (a school's perspective) by Duncan Wright, librarian

Conference tweets by Bev Humphrey (the hashtag for the day was #PoRConf)

Blog about the conference by Karen King

Blog about the conference by Tracey Jefferies

Blog about the conference by Vikki Patis

Slide presentation by Mandy Wilson, librarian at Northfield Academy in Aberdeen

Patron of Reading newsletter by Emma Pass and the students of Titus Salt School (have a look at the Titus Salt Reading Manifesto!)

Feedback from the Patron of Reading conference

Saturday 21st February 2015, The Art Workers' Guild, London

During the afternoon, the delegates split into small groups and swapped ideas on how to get the most from having a Patron of Reading, Here are some of the suggestions:

School Tips

(contributed by Rosalind Wynne and Tim Redgrave- the ideas have been listed very much in note form)

Keep momentum between visits! John Dougherty produces videos involving other authors. Newsletters. Blog on author’s website.

By block booking an author for the year, schools can usually get a small discount.

Start the day with an assembly for the whole school- have an element of performance, sparks creativity, introduce yourself again.

Key contact at the school- easier to have a key person.

Link visits to the curriculum where possible, e.g. Year 2 needed to write a riddle so Josh Seigal ran workshop on it.

Link with a themed day so can be cross-curricular, not just literacy, e.g. jungle theme- Josh did animal poems.

Partnership with libraries- Portsmouth public library linked up with Dee Kirkby. Children could earn points for their Reading Rocs challenge when borrowed library books. Librarian came into school to give awards to children who used the library the most.

There is funding issue for many schools. Three visits a year can work for primary schools, more probably too expensive.

Reading Challenge. Assembly to promote and present certificates. Parent Champion.

Engaging disinterested parents by user-friendly language (use Celebrity Author instead of Patron of Reading!).

Dedicating a book to the school (acknowledge children's ideas).

Mention during visit books the Patron loved as a child.

Have reading groups with author. Make the visit a surprise! Use visit as research for book.

Bring in some of own favourite books.

Name a character in a book.

Headteacher/all staff engaged and briefed as to what PoR is, and can do.

Reading Charter (see newsletter from Emma Pass)

Video reviews

PoR launch in a Bookshop (though not very special for the school- Tim)

All staff to have a "Hot Reads" stand. Model reading when kids read.

Blog with reviews and book suggestions based on reviews.

'Pass it on' books (with cards left in books as to why it has been passed on)

Research school before starting!

Organise budget for PoR asap.

Parent links are key.

Possible Issues

Communication from school.

Getting other staff involved, not just the librarian.

Match between school and author.

Keeping momentum!

Fitting around the curriculum.

Sorting the financial arrangement between school and author- no author should do it free of charge.

Support from headteacher.

Having framework of engagement.

How to 'divorce' at the end of the patron's tenure.