Easter is nearly upon us, and it is time to check out how well our Reading Challenge for this year went. If you remember we began with good intentions back in January to try something different and to dip into the Carnegie Book Award’s list of nominations. So, this morning I have been totting up some statistics:
84 books were added to stock from the Carnegie nominations list (we chose titles suitable for KS3 and those that were out in paperback)
550 book issues
123 students borrowed from the collection (63 Y7, 32 Y8, 28 Y9)
77 reviews uploaded to the Riveting Reads blog
41 students borrowed 4+ titles (1 book per month)
7 students completed the ultimate challenge of reading 12+ books ( two came in with 9 books read and one, 7)
26 books were borrowed 5+ times
Top 6 most borrowed books (two of which are now on the shortlist) were:
Our winning students were:
Bethan Y7 34 books
Caitlin Y8 19 books
Ciara Y7 16 books
Tommy Y7 15 books
Toby, Evie Y7 & Molly Y8, 12 books each
With a shout out for Zach Y9 and Eliza Y7 for reading 9 each and Cerys for 7 titles
All Year 7 winners have joined the Carnegie Reading Group which is currently shadowing the Shortlist
Prizes were £10 Waterstones vouchers and Easter Eggs, part funded by a 6th form editors and contributors of the school magazine, The Croak, who held a cake sale.
Some thoughts to conclude:
We spent time purchasing the books (some we were unsure of were purchase New & Used from Amazon to save money), creating a display, plasma slides, reviewing bookmarks and building a blog to promote the challenge and for student comments. 6th form assistants uploaded the many reviews and we gave chocolate “Wonka bars” to each new reviewer during assemblies or library lessons. (each received with a surprised grin)
The Librarian promoted the challenge to all 18 classes Y7-9 at the beginning of the year and returned to demonstrate the reviewing blog. If she had time to do a Book Talk on some of the titles eg novels in verse, they were generally borrowed.
We hadn’t taken into account World Book Day and the Scholastic Book Fair that stays with us the week after half term, for 2 weeks we run competitions to herald its arrival and all classes visit during the week so promotion was halted and allowed to slip. We also didn’t think to remind English staff taking the Y8 -9 classes to remind their students to choose from the collection. So as the weeks have gone by the collection has gradually filled up as books are returned and new titles not borrowed. The 7 winners were far and away our best borrowers and reviewers.
Winners said they entered because they loved reading, wanted to read more and experiment with new authors. They all enjoyed the challenge and said that they rarely gave up on a book!
Would we do it again?
I think so, as we can build on what we have learnt this year, and re-use resources we have created. I think the money was well spent on quality literature and a number of books which I might not have chosen, went out more that I thought they would have. Many titles have appeared on other shortlists (Blue Peter, Branford Boase, YA) and so we will be able to promote them again next term.
Instead of our usual competitions for Scholastic, we could offer the Book Token prizes as an incentive to keep reading 2 months on.
We would offer some training to English teachers who take the older classes so that they are fully on board and confident to encourage their students to undertake the challenge. When lessons began with a book talk by the librarian (eg novels in verse) the books were usually borrowed. I think we could also make better use of the students and their reviews – to include some “Speak-outs” in class.