This activity is particularly suitable for World Book Day, although it can be run at any time of the year. The Rivers of Reading methodology invites children to create a collage-like piece of work which links their reading experiences to critical incidents in their lives. It lends itself very well to home learning, as it involves family conversations, to help children remember early reading experiences, key moments in their lives, etc.

As an activity, it is probably best to explain the task to children, and then give them a solid chunk of time to work on their River of Reading as a project.

This activity builds on a research study published in February 2021, and, rather than producing a lesson plan, we have chosen the slightly different approach of creating two videos – one for staff, which outlines the methodology, gives examples, and explores aspects of biliteracy, and one directly aimed at pupils, which outlines the activity. They are included in small below, you can make them full-screen by clicking on the arrows in the bottom right corner. Both presentations are supported by a handout (available from the download menu, and editable to fit your context).

For staff:

For pupils:

The research behind this activity was funded by the UK Literacy Association – they are a fantastic organisation. You can find out more about them here. The work builds on research by Gabrielle Cliff Hodges.

For those wishing to read the full paper, you can access it here: Little, S. (2021) Rivers of multilingual reading: exploring biliteracy experiences among 8-13-year old heritage language readers. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 1-14.  

Or, if your institution does not support access, you can find an alternative version here.

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