Learning Resource Centre staff member wins prestigious national award for ‘Share a Story’ initiative

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The College is once again celebrating the achievements of its staff, as Learning Resource Centre Library Assistant, Elizabeth Organ has secured the Jeff Cooper Inspirational Information Professional of the Year Award by CoLRiC, the Council for Learning Resources in Colleges.

Liz won the award for her work creating and running the ‘Share a Story’ reading group, encouraging students to get involved with books and reading. Liz, who has worked at the College for the past two years, explained that she had the idea after seeing an opportunity to help students with learning difficulties:

“I noticed we had lots of things to offer students, especially with a vast array of books and 1-2-1 sessions. However I felt we could do more to engage students who maybe struggled with reading.

“Students on the STEPs and PVP courses used to book out DVD’s, but there weren’t many that took books. The question was, how do you find something that will interest someone who perhaps wasn’t interested in reading? That’s when I put forward the idea of someone reading to them.”

Initially the plan was to open the reading session to one group of STEPs students, but it quickly became so popular that it is now offered to six groups of STEPs and PVP students. The sessions cover all sorts of books and poems and the students are very fond of David Walliams and Roald Dahl.

Liz goes on to say: “The main thing is that we all have a good time, as I want the students to look forward to our sessions. We always have lots of laughs, lots of jokes and the students love it when I put on a range of different accents and voices.”

At the end of each term the ‘Share a Story’ group also run a competition where the students can write a poem, a story or draw a picture about the book we have been covering. This really engages the students, which Liz explains is important as the whole idea behind the reading group was to inspire:

“I ultimately want students to think that maybe books aren’t so boring, scary or intimidating after all! It’s been a really great experience so far. We even have one student who was an elective mute, who decided to stand up in front of the class and read, and now feels confident enough to read in every session.”

On winning her award Liz said:

“It’s the whole library that has achieved this award, as without my colleagues covering my duties at the front desk none of this would have been possible. I was also delighted for the students, because without the students enjoying themselves and engaging in the sessions, this initiative would never have become such a success! “

Learning Resource Manager at the College Deb Farrell, praised Liz for her achievements:

“We are delighted that Liz has won this award recognising the commitment and work that she has put into making the "Share a Story" initiative such a success. It has been wonderful to see the high level of enthusiasm generated amongst the students as they develop in personal confidence and ability to read aloud.”

To find out more about the College’s Learning Resource Centres, visit: thecollege.co.uk/LRC