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The Reading Shed: a special place to read at Ladywood Primary School

About our school

Ladywood Primary School delivered a presentation at the Project READ Conference on Developing a Reading for Pleasure Culture in June 2018. We watched the video clip of Oliver and Libby showing us around their Reading Shed. We are delighted that our case study has also been included on the OU website


The Teachers as Readers: Building Communities of Readers (TaRs) research project, by Professor Teresa Cremin et al (2014), found that social reading environments were seen to be key to creating richly reciprocal reading communities. Being physically engaging, the most successful environments tempted children into texts and offered spaces to relax, browse, and read for pleasure. With this in mind, we discussed how to engage children in reading with our Reading Buddies, a group of Year 6 learners with a passion to promote reading and engage in reading activities with children across the school.

Our aims were:

- to enthuse learners to read for pleasure
- to create an environment which tempts the children to read a variety of texts and offers a space to relax and to read for pleasure
- to provide opportunities to choose texts to take home and to share as a family.


A group of Year 6 reading enthusiasts became Ladywood Reading Buddies. They helped to run an after school reading club for Year 1 children who had been identified as disengaged readers. During the sessions, we discussed how to engage children in reading for pleasure. One avid reader suggested having a ‘special’ place to read and posed the question ‘Have you ever read in a shed?’ The idea was born from there. An application was made to a local funding group in which we outlined the positive impact a reading shed would bring to our school and community. Following a successful application, the Reading Shed was purchased, built and officially opened in November 2017.  The grand opening took place at the end of the school day so we could invite as many members of the school and local community as possible. Governors and journalists from two local newspapers were also invited.


The Reading Shed is opened every lunch time by the Reading Buddies (on a rota basis) to offer a space to relax and read for pleasure. The number of children visiting the shed has remained consistent. A 'reading buzz' is apparent with children reading outside on dry/sunny days, lounging on the bean bags reading. Recommendations from the ‘Recommendations Boards’ provided by the children prompt discussion about books.

In addition, 'Book Swap' takes place every Thursday morning from the Reading Shed just before school starts. It is an opportunity for families and individuals to bring a book from home and swap it for a different one. The current Reading Buddies run this event independently. Feedback from parents has been very positive.


The Reading Shed has been extremely well-received by both children and adults alike. One parent stated, "I have never seen my kids so excited when it comes to swapping books at the reading shed. The books they read are now so much more varied." Another parent said, "My daughter thoroughly enjoys using the Book Shed especially during book swap where she comes home with a new book every week."

The children also feel the same and have said that it is, "A beautiful place to read" and "There is now more book talk and you can hear children say that next week at book swap they will try and get this book or that book."

To experience a tour of our Reading Shed, hosted by two of our Reading Buddies, please see the film clip.

Next steps

This idea has helped develop not only a link between reading at home and school but also provided an engaging environment to tempt children into different texts and to offer a safe space to relax, browse, and read for pleasure. It also illustrates our passion to the community and families of the area that we nurture a reading community and want to enthuse children to read a variety of books for the 'love' of it. At Ladywood,every day is a world book day!


Kelly Neill – English Team

Additional information

Welcome to our Reading Shed at Ladywood Primary School! Password for all clips: projectread
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