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Reading Architecture

Reading Architecture

RIBA is recognising and celebrating the importance of books in the world of architecture.

In 2021, RIBA Learning launched Reading Architecture, a national literacy project designed to help RIBA understand what architecture books we should be recommending to children, young people and teachers. During the summer term of 2021, over 650 students from 27 schools across England were asked to read and review a set of architecture books. Find out about what students got up to during the read and review stage of the project.

Reading Architecture is the first national literacy-focused project RIBA has launched and is an important and valuable initiative to schools across the UK as teacher consultation has highlighted the need and desire for ideas to explore different kinds of texts with pupils through cross-curricular teaching.

Literacy is a core subject in all UK schools and teachers are set the challenge of exploring a set amount of texts each year with their classes. There is no specification for the types of texts children should be exploring. RIBA’s Reading Architecture project has highlighted that the multidiscipline nature of architecture enables teachers to deliver exciting, creative and cross curricular learning that is focused around literacy and is very appealing to pupils and schools.

Partnership project with John Keats Primary School

Following the announcement of the winning architecture books in November 2021, RIBA Learning embarked on a partnership project with teachers at John Keats Primary School in South London to create five free learning resources – three Key Stage One and two Key Stage Two – for teachers across the UK to use with their students to help them to explore and enjoy the winning texts.

“At John Keats Primary, we decided to get involved with the reading architecture initiative because of the fantastic opportunities that learning about architecture gives the children. Our school is in an area that is undergoing huge amounts of change: by learning about architects, buildings and place, we hoped to give the children some understanding and ownership about the changes happening around them. 

The texts chosen for RIBA’s reading architecture initiative are an incredible way to introduce these concepts. Whether they have been considering the history of buildings in the local area, exploring neurodiversity and how individuals respond to different spaces or investigating why stone age people created their homes in a certain way, these books are a brilliant starting point. Even better, we have been able to cover National Curriculum objectives for English, Geography, History, Science, PSHE and Maths through projects linked to these books. They are truly cross-curricular and the children have loved applying their learning through them”. – Jack Taylor, Head Teacher at John Keats Primary School  

Reading Architecture display at John Keats Primary School
Reading Architecture display at John Keats Primary School

This project would not have been possible without the support of the following publishers:

Countryside BooksIsland PressLaurence KingNosy CrowPavilionPrestelRoutledgeTemplar Books, and Thames and Hudson.

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