April 2018

This month’s featured teacher is Steph Elliott, who some of you may know from Twitter (@eenalol) or through her blog: A little but a lot. As a blogger, her career is flourishing and she was awarded “Best Newcomer” at the 2018 UKYABA Blogger Awards.

As a teacher, Steph is a Higher Level Teaching Assistant at Our Lady and St Anne’s RC Primary School in Newcastle where she has worked for the past nine years, while simultaneously training as part of the Sacred Heart Newcastle SCITT to become a Primary School teacher.

 

Seven Stories: Your enthusiasm for children’s books is contagious. How has being a reviewer (and fan!) of children’s books informed your teaching and your approach to reading for pleasure?

SE: There are so many incredible children's books out there that it is so hard not to be overwhelmed. Having the chance to read and review children's books has definitely informed my teaching. I can recommend some brilliant books to the children and have a wealth of books which I can use relating to different topics. There's no feeling quite as good as recommending a book to a child and watching them fall in love with it as much as I did! If I allow myself time to read for pleasure then we need to also do this for children. Being told to read a book is not going to win you any friends, but giving children the time and the opportunities to find books they love can win you many!

 

Seven Stories: Through blogging and social media, teachers and educators are now, more than ever, involved in book reviewing and promoting their favourite books online. As someone who has a big online presence, both as a blogger and a teacher, what are the benefits, for teachers and educators, of being a part of this online community?

SE: Being part of the online community with fellow educators is always a learning experience. My Twitter feed is full of books and teaching, and there's nothing better. I am constantly learning. The primary Twitter community are incredible and very generous with time, ideas, resources and talk. My advice to new teachers is to get yourself a Twitter. There are so many incredible teachers on Twitter who are willing to help that you just need to be there. There's nothing quite like it! 

 

Seven Stories: What advice would you give fellow teachers and educators wanting to get into the online book community? Can you recommend a few good places to start?

SE: Read. Read. Read. Read books you want to read first. Read books you think your kids will want to read. Read books you think will change the way you teach. Read because you love it. Share your thoughts honestly. Never assume you'll get free books. I don't blog for anyone but myself. I blog about books because I love reading. 

 

Seven Stories: What can schools and teachers do to encourage children from all backgrounds to read more?

SE: I think if you get the buzz of reading it doesn't matter where you teach. Reading is fun, it's explorative, it's all-encompassing - if you show this to kids, they'll come. It won't happen instantly - just keep going. Show enthusiasm, provide children with the opportunities to talk about books and to experience books, and they will read.