Engaging your students with reading in the most challenging of times

Close up for child's hand using digital device
Date Published


Reading time

3 mins read


Sue Polchow

As schooling continues to be disrupted, keeping students engaged with their reading and the curriculum has never been more important – or challenging – than it is at present.

Schools everywhere have been considering how they can minimise the disruption to students’ learning, with many looking to technology to help fill the gap left by the move from the traditional classroom to home.

One area which has become increasingly popular to improve reading engagement, even before Covid-19, is that of reading resources hosted in the cloud, accessible via online school library management systems like Reading Cloud.

Which is why we recently held a webinar as part of our ongoing customer webinar programme, showing how you can use the Reading Cloud tools and features to promote literacy and curricular initiatives with your students when they’re not in school. During the session we looked at how to create and push out recommended reading lists to a range of audiences, such as must reads for individual students and reading groups, or coursework assignment lists for form groups or year groups.

We explored how to choose a featured author, star reviewer and book of the week - all ideas that are bound to get your students thinking about their reading choices. Readers may then want to share their thoughts on what they have enjoyed reading and we looked at how the review area within Reading Cloud enables the inclusion of prompts to assist students with writing book reviews with the option for videoing a review – both activities which could be set as a homework task.

During the webinar, we showed how the Links function could highlight curricular websites and e-resource portals and is also a popular place to add book trailers and book award links. We then looked at the community data dashboard to see popular books and authors by Key Stage with school library readers all over the country. In addition to this, there are reporting tools which can generate a good deal of information about reading patterns identified from past loans within your school library. These insights into reading trends can generate lots of reading related facts and figures, ideal to share with parents wishing to help their children with exploring new authors’ works and choosing what to read next.

I hope that you get chance to view this webinar as it demonstrates the range of features available to enhance Reading Cloud for optimum student engagement.

If you’re an existing Reading Cloud customer, hopefully it will inspire you to try some of the ideas within your own library system and see the immediate effects. Once published, your content can be instantly viewed by your student audience, although some activities, such as sending in reviews or viewing tailor-made reading lists, will require them to log in. If you haven’t yet enabled remote access for your student community, there is a webinar available on the Reading Cloud Customer Resources Hub which covers everything you need to know about creating student logins for enabling anytime, anywhere access.

Written by


Sue Polchow MCILIP

Literacy & Library Adviser, Capita Reading Cloud

Having previously been both a School Library Service Manger & Adviser and a school librarian, Sue has always been committed to supporting and developing school libraries to realise their potential as learning and literacy hubs. She is a chartered librarian, active nationally on the CILIP Youth Libraries Group, a member of the CILIP School Libraries Group and School Library Association and prior to joining Capita was both a Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals and Costa Children’s Book Award judge.

Our latest insights


Future of work

Insurance and pensions

Local government


Read more

Thinking about your organisation?

Get in touch