Þórhildur Garðarsdóttir admits to having been slightly depressed by the results of the European PISA children’s education survey, “so I thought about what I could do about it as a parent and as an employee of a publishing house.”
The idea she came up with was to introduce her child’s year group (Year 6 at Grandaskóli school) how books are made, from start to finish. She enlisted the help of her employer, Forlagið publishers, as well as an author and a print works.
“I ran the idea past the school management last May and they immediately liked it and said they wanted to make it part of the curriculum. The project started in October and has been running since. It’s great to see that our education system can be so flexible. Now the kids are writing a book in which everyone will have their story and Oddi is going to print the book for them,” Þórhildur told Vísir.
Firstly the children were introduced to the project by an editor from Forlagið, and the next step was a series of visits from authors who told the children how their ideas are born and how the process of sending manuscripts to editors and getting them back and needing to make changes works. The children also received visits from designers who showed them how book covers are designed.
Though the project involves a lot of work for the publishing professionals, teachers, head teachers and children, Þórhildur says it is working very well, adding that it would be great if more schools applied to take part.
A three-month reading campaign ran alongside the project: “According to the teachers, all the kids made progress and all of them improved their reading speed,” Þórhildur says.
“The kids talk about books amongst themselves and show interest in books they see advertised and which are coming out. It now seems to be cool to read!”