One of those moments today that make the job so worthwhile.

R is one of those kids: likeable but often the recipient of requests to be quiet or stop mucking about or pay attention. Reading isn’t on his list of priorities, and we have plenty of pupils like him. The Reading Trail is one way we try to point out the door that leads to enjoying reading, and help them open it.

Last time, he discovered the animal books, and today he returned looking for something similar. There were a lot of pupils requiring literary match-making, so I made sure he knew what he was doing and went to help someone else. Five minutes later, R was still gazing dejectedly at the animals section, still clutching his original book.

He opened the book at the back:

I’ve finished this one, he said, but there’s this list at the back, and I’m looking for one of them.

Hmm (scanning the list), afraid I don’t know if we’ve got any more of this series any more. But we’ve got other books on wolves and birds of prey and orcas (pulling them off the shelf to show him). Any of these any use?

Yeah, he said, I know about them.

Ah, not impressed then.

And then salvation presented itself, and as I passed over the precise book he wanted his body language changed entirely, his face lit up and he happily dived back to the class hugging the book to him.

And that’s why we continue with the Reading Trail. It always brings the usual mix of readers, from fascinated to bored and every stage in between, but we never stop trying to match readers and books. And it’s worth the slog through antipathy and apathy for moments like that one.