Teacher judges have enthusiastically signed up for their own reading challenge for 2016! The unique UKLA Book Awards are the only awards judged by active classroom teachers and 77 of them have been selected from schools in Bristol and the Midlands.
There are 3 or 4 groups of judges for each age category and they have until March to read the longlisted books, discuss them with their group leaders, and share them with pupils. All groups will then meet together for the difficult task of choosing their shortlist of 6 books in each category.
Teachers welcomed the opportunity to widen their knowledge of recent children’s titles. For UKLA, giving classroom practitioners the opportunity to read a number of new children’s books is as important as finding an overall winner. Research carried out by members of UKLA (Cremin et al 2008) clearly demonstrated the links between teachers’ knowledge of children’s books and the likelihood of pupils becoming successful readers. Despite this evidence, teachers are seldom given time to read new books or funding to purchase them when they do.
UKLA are proud to announce new sponsors to add to the valued support they have received from MLS for the past 5 years and which will help the awards to continue to grow. New co-sponsors, Lovereading4schools and Lovereading4kids, recognised the value of the judging experience for schools and teachers:
‘Lovereading4schools and its sister site Lovereading4kids is very excited and proud to be a co-sponsor of the UKLA Book Awards 2016. The way UKLA work with schools and pupils complements Lovereading’s approach of using book experts and children reviewers to provide good, trusted guidance for teachers and parents that can be hard to find. We are looking forward to sharing the longlisted, shortlisted and winning books with all the parents and schools who use our websites.’ Peter Crawshaw – Co-Founder and Director of Lovereading Ltd
The UKLA Selection Panel, chaired by Lynda Graham, whittled down the 320 publisher submissions to arrive at a set of longlists which once again feature books in translation, exciting debut authors as well as established and familiar names. For the first time each category includes nonfiction titles, which Lynda Graham says: “indicates a welcome renaissance in top quality, innovative nonfiction publishing” But all of the books, whether fiction or nonfiction, novels or picture books exemplify the award criteria of writing which offers language rich in layered meanings, imaginative expression and exciting vocabulary. Where present, high quality illustration is also an important feature of the chosen texts.