Author Cressida Cowell (BH 1982-84), the current Children’s Laureate and best known as the creator of ‘How to Train your Dragon’, has launched a new project called Life-Changing Libraries which has seen bespoke libraries built in six primary schools across the country. The initiative is in partnership with The BookTrust, all schools taking part have at least 25% of pupils eligible for free school meals. The aim of the project is to help improve academic standards and encourage the passion of reading in young children.
Griffin Primary School in Battersea, which Ofsted rated as requiring improvement, took part in a pilot study. The report found that teachers at Griffin Primary School and five other pilot schools reported increased attention, engagement, and motivation to learn amongst students in the classroom after the libraries were opened.
Cressida has previously written an open letter to PM Boris Johnson, asking for £100m to be set aside for building new libraries in schools and restoring neglected ones. This was backed by a series of other well-known authors including Malorie Blackman.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4 with presenter Samira Ahmed, Cressida talks about the decades of research that has taken place on the importance of libraries in schools on both academic improvement and, as shown in an American study, how they can counteract the impact of poverty on a child’s reading age. Following the introduction of six new libraries results have shown increased attention of pupils as well as motivation of teachers.
To hear Cressida speak on this interesting topic and why a library should not be seen as a luxury, the recording can be found here: Front Row – Paula Rego Remembered, Cressida Cowell, Elif Shafak, Stones In His Pockets – BBC Sounds