A teacher in Somerset has launched a campaign calling for photos of social media users and bookshelves on the social networking site Twitter.
Utilising the hashtag #shelfies, Sarah Keelty, the Literacy Coordinator of Fosse Day School, a school with students who have special needs, said the campaign would help her students learn about not just reading, but allow the skill to be taught, especially for autistic students.
“I thought the #shelfie would be a way of getting our students engaged in thinking about what other people read, and why they read, and also what one could perhaps ‘read’ about another person through their book choices (who hasn’t looked at someone else’s bookshelf and not made some sort of inference?!)” Keelty said. “This empathy is a skill which it is important to work on with autistic students in particular.”
The campaign is being launched ahead of World Book Day on 5 March, and the #shelfie has been used for other purposes, notably this week ahead of National Libraries Day on Saturday.
— RC_Archive (@RC_Archive) February 2, 2015
— Sarah (@Drosophilista) February 2, 2015
The school is also incorporating a competition with the #shelfie for their students.
— Fosse Way School (@FosseWaySchool) January 28, 2015
The ‘idea of storytelling’
Keelty said the school was trying to encourage their students to feel part of their community and indeed the wider world.
“Our young people obviously face a lot of difficulties on top of the usual that their generation have to deal with these days,” Keelty said. “Without wanting to sound too goody-goody, we are really passionate about giving our students the best, and giving them the opportunities to interact with as many different experiences as possible. We want them to feel valued and noticed in a society where there is still a lot of fear and taboo which surrounds special needs.”
Keelty says there is also appeal for the #shelfie UK wide to raise the profile of reading.
“Our students and many other students all over the country struggle A LOT with reading so I feel it’s our responsibility to show them the fun and exhilaration of stories and words and that they can get involved in books even if they can’t read a whole novel,” Keelty said. “Books are stories, and life is made of stories!”
Keelty wants to emphasise the idea of storytelling, as many students don’t find it a pleasure, particularly when it comes to it being a task. Keelty wants to tell students of “the idea of books as stories that communicate, can entertain, and can make you feel different emotions.”
“They can be authors as well,” Keelty said.
What’s on your bookshelf? Tweet us your photos @KettleMag using the #shelfie.