Dr Margaret K. Merga is an experienced educator and prolific researcher, with more than a hundred peer-reviewed publications as well as six books on literacy and libraries. The Australian's 2024 Research magazine recenlty named her top researcher in her field!
Her latest book, "Creating a Reading Culture in Primary and Secondary Schools: A Practical Guide" explores building a whole school reading culture, including detailed content on the research in this area as well as practical advice on how to implement these initiatives.
When asked why she chose to write this book and what it means to her,
"I decided to write this book so that the current international research on building a whole school reading culture could be translated into easy to implement strategies and tools.
Those of you who are familiar with my work will know that I’m really passionate about knowledge mobilisation. This enables research translation, leading to a better student experience in schools.
I have spent many years conducting research on reading engagement and collecting data from diverse stakeholders to inform our understandings of best practice in relation to establishing a whole school reading culture. I have also worked closely with schools, supporting them to optimise reading engagement and reach related literacy goals.
The approach I outline in this book can be implemented alongside existing literacy programs in schools to enhance students’ motivation to read and promote the development of key literacy skills. Let’s turn our school cultures into reading cultures!”
Here's what others have had to say about the book:
"Supporting reading is rightly considered to be a main function and role for the contemporary school library/ian. If you’re experiencing difficulties in embedding a reading culture or positioning the library as a major stakeholder in a school’s strategy about reading, then Creating a Reading Culture in Primary and Secondary Schools: A Practical Guide by Margaret Merga is essential reading.
In an accessible and practical way, the author provides strategies, context, help and encouragement for librarians who identify the need to develop a school reading culture. As you would expect, the text is underpinned by research and evidence-based practice. Crucially, the book covers evaluating a reading culture and how to do it. Margaret Merga’s latest book offers dynamic, relevant insight for the school librarian to consider and ideas and strategies about how to implement this ever-important aspect of the school library/ian mission, which, as with other aspects of a school library programme, works best when in partnership with the school community."
"Margaret K Merga’s new book: Creating a Reading Culture in Primary and Secondary Schools: A Practical Guide is a hugely relevant read and coincides appositely with the Reading Schools accreditation programme in Scotland. She articulates all that I feel about the substantial role of school librarians in understanding pupils’ reading habits and in establishing a reading culture in schools. She demonstrates with recent research that one of the most important things that schools can do to build a reading culture is to invest in a qualified school library professional.
Young people, more than ever, require literacy skill levels to participate in society and to access crucial information. Reading cultures must be a priority for schools. This is a vital book for our times and essential reading for all education professionals."
"More than anything, I wish to be a librarian in a school which embraces all the best practices which Dr. Merga has recommended. This book provides a guide by which teacher librarians along with fellow educators and leadership can generate a whole school reading culture.
Supported by extensive research, Dr. Merga outlines criteria and establishes priorities which directly result in students’ increased opportunities to read and identify as readers. Our entire school community would immediately benefit by implementing the strategies which Dr. Merga has set forth. Readers will appreciate the thoughtful and comprehensive approach to making real and impactful changes in how our schools foster a love of reading across all grade levels."
"Every educator engaged in promoting reading within their institution, including school librarians, teachers, support staff and senior leaders, should consider adding this book to their continuing professional development reading list. This comprehensive resource emphasizes the cultivation of a reading culture within schools with the ultimate goal of nurturing lifelong readers. The book extensively incorporates peer-reviewed research, not only from Western sources but also from other perspectives.
Establishing the significance and impact of fostering a comprehensive whole school reading culture, this book equips readers with the knowledge to comprehend and implement a diverse array of practical strategies, designed to be integrated into a well-managed approach that involves ethical evaluation and analysis. An invaluable tool for those wanting to foster a holistic culture of reading in both primary and secondary schools."
The four key takeaways (below) will help you to decide if this book is for you!
If the answer is YES …
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