21st April 2017

BGU shadow book awards panel

BGU Education Studies students are taking part in the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) book awards shadowing scheme this year.

This national scheme takes place annually and offers students the chance to vote for their favourite new children’s book in a range of age group categories, 'shadowing' the official UKLA awards panel which includes teachers and literacy experts across the UK. The author selected by students nationally will receive a special award at the UKLA international conference in July.

A group of 17 second year BGU Education Studies students volunteered to meet with lecturer Dr Helen Hendry and children’s librarian Janice Morris for four lunch-time meetings throughout this year’s second semester. They chose the 3-6 age range as the books are quick to read and fun to talk about!

The meetings are informal and include time to talk about likes, dislikes and reactions to the text and illustrations. The students have been trying out the books on willing children of friends and family, and during school placements. They also used the official UKLA criteria to consider the relationship between words and illustrations, the author’s use of language, and to try to choose the book which young readers would want to read over and over again.

Helen Henry said “involving the Education Studies students in shadowing the UKLA book awards is a fantastic way of widening their knowledge of current high quality children’s literature. This will be important for many of their future careers in education.

“Through our informal discussions and consideration of the award criteria they really get a chance to think about what children gain from sharing stories and how picture books can be a powerful tool in the classroom.

“This project also highlights the wonderful selection of children’s books and teaching resources in our library and encourages our students to use these when planning creatively on placement in partnership schools. It is a real pleasure to share the books with our students and debate and discuss our favourites!”

Two students who respond to the shadowing event in an innovative way, perhaps by involving pupils and schools, can be nominated to attend the UKLA conference and meet the authors.

At the end of May the student shadowers can vote individually online for their chosen winner.

BGU students clearly know their books for children as last year both of the groups' favourites won their UKLA categories. Richard Byrne's 'This book just ate my dog' won the UKLA Students Award and Alex T. Smith ‘s ‘Little Red and the very hungry lion’ won the overall UKLA Book Award 2016 for its age range. We will find out in July if our students can pick a winner again!

Do you want to get involved with the shadow book awards next year? Find out more about studying Education at BGU.