Aspen Heights British School in Abu Dhabi hosted its first-ever Aspen Book Swap, inviting pupils to exchange their favourite pre-loved books with a schoolmate.
Over 400 books were swapped during this exercise, with roughly 300 pupils from across early years and primary school (Ages 3-10) taking part. The Book Swap further promoted a love of reading in the school and is closely aligned with the eco-school values that Aspen Heights British School champions.
Students were encouraged to bring in their favourite pre-loved books to exchange them for a ‘new-to-you’ book donated by one of their schoolmates. They received a token for the submission of each book, and these were used to swap for a new book that they could take home to read.
The books were submitted, sanitised, and displayed in the playground to ensure social distancing and hygiene. Each class had a time slot to visit and choose the books of their choice. The process was coordinated by the ‘Friends of Aspen’, who are parent volunteers. They looked after the display tables, ensured that the stocks were replenished, and made recommendations to the students about which books to choose.
Over 400 books were swapped between pupils during this unique initiative
Emma Shanahan, Principal, Aspen Heights British School praised the initiative saying: “Reading presents pupils with fun and imaginative experiences while improving their communication and language skills. The Aspen Book Swap highlights these benefits and reminds students that it is an important component of their future success.”
The Aspen Heights British School promotes reading as an important life skill and the inspiration for the Book Swap came from the teacher’s staff room, which has a bookcase stocked with books that teachers bring in for their colleagues to read.
The project promoted reading as an important life skill and was aligned with the school’s eco-school values
Zaina Moayad, from Year 4 Hobaras, who donated 20 books said: “I’m excited to see which book I will be reading next. I am hoping for something like Harry Potter as it is a series, so I’ll have lots of books to read. I always read in my free time and can’t wait for the next book swap day.”
According to Sandy, a Year 4 parent: “My son was excited to tell me that he chose a book about a cat, which was donated by his best friend. The Book Swap has been a great way of encouraging us to have a clear-out at home, but also to revive the enthusiasm for reading.”
The success of this exercise has inspired the school to consider turning this into a monthly event, to promote the love for reading and talking about books. It is a classic example of a simple idea generating a significant impact.