Books are my Bag

World Book Night, primarily aimed at adults, takes place in the UK and America every year on 23rd April, the suggested birth and death date for Shakespeare and UNESCO’s International Day of the Book. It is globally recognised that reading for pleasure is an indicator for issues from poverty to mental health and here in the UK 36% of adults do not read regularly. So, the aim is simple: to get more adults reading!

We have used WBN as a backdrop for an event with 6th form over the past few years. They use the library brilliantly for private study but rarely borrow for pleasure! This year there appears to have been a squeeze on the WBN budget and the public has been encouraged to gift books themselves rather than relying on the lovely packs that the organisation produces.

So the Library Ladiez sent out a plea before the Easter holidays to all staff, asking them to “gift” a favourite book of theirs along with a brief note saying why they thought a 6th former would enjoy it.

We were thrilled to receive over 50 books on our return; new, old, pristine, tatty books belonging to all kinds of genres. Miss Usoro, Head of Maths and a keen reader, donated a box of 20, each with a post-it note of persuasion! During the next few days we made up packages, each with a bright label containing the teacher’s name and their words of recommendation, which took over every part of our office space!

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As with every year, students are a little suspicious of our generosity and may not be the keenest of readers (or have just got out of the habit or reading for pleasure during their exam years) but curiosity gets the better of them. It only took 15 minutes for all books to be chosen from a display set up in the common room at lunchtime! We hope they enjoy their book, maybe something they would not normally have chosen – and hopefully they too, will be inspired to pass it on to someone else to enjoy.

HUGE thanks to all the teachers and support staff for their passion – and for giving up some treasured possessions!


Year 7 Reading Challenge

We have usually set our Reading Challenge for the year by now, but we have been trying to set up something that would challenge ALL readers, not just the keen and able. In the past we have tried to encourage reading as many books as possible in a set time and given prizes to winning tutor groups. But on reflection, we are pretty sure that many less keen readers tend to sit back and let the others do the work! So, inspired by Bennett Memorial Diocesan School and encouraged by English teacher Mrs Rose,  we have decided upon a change of plan this year.

All students are being set the task to read a book a term for the last two terms of the year, starting NOW. We are launching the challenge in Reading lessons and ensuring that ALL students leave with a suitable book (whether chosen from the library or from home). Our guidelines are below:

Challenge outline for blog

We will not be seeing students for 4 weeks due to the Easter holidays, which give them plenty of time for them to have a good read and finish, or nearly finish their chosen book.

Upon return, we will then be writing our first Critical Review together in class and choosing a creative activity to do for homework next term, in response to what we have read:

Activities for blog

So far most students have left us happy, and some have even chosen borrow two books, just to be on the safe side! The Library Ladiez are looking forward to hearing all about them next term (as we never have time to read all our books).


Doing something BOOKY for World Book Day

Sorry to have not got back to you about our Scholastic Book Fair, but we were so busy last week, there was no time! But now it has been returned. we have counted our takings and  students can be seen around the school enjoying new books of their own.

All Y7-9 students received their WBD £1 voucher during the week and many spent them with us. If you kept yours don’t forget that you have until March 26th to redeem it against a book at participating book shops. Remember to use voucyer

Maybe put it towards one of the special WBD books that can be obtained using a voucher only.  Younger students may enjoy a new Famous Five story or a tale by David Walliams while Island by David Almond and Dead of night by Michael Grant are great for teenagers.

WBD books

Staff and students from Ed Support popped over to choose some items on commission for their bookshelves.

On the actual World Book Day the Librarians were joined by some of the English staff in dressing up as their favourite characters.

So we would like to thank everyone who came to visit the Book Fair, the English staff for giving up time in their lessons for students to look around and collect their vouchers, and the parents who supported us. As always, we have made a healthy commission which will be distributed amongst Ed Support, English and the Library.



Book Fair preparations are underway

We have begun promoting the Scholastic Book Fair to Y7,8,9 students before the 1/2 term holiday. It will be in school from 27th February – 3rd March in the Library.

Scholastic always give us £5 Book Tokens to offer as prizes and we are running competitions for them in Y8 and Y9 Library Lessons. Y7s are being encouraged to compose a Harry Potter Acrostic Poem over the holiday period to be handed in to the Library Ladiez by 24th February. The Book Tokens can be spent at the Book Fair.




Our first attempt to celebrate Bloomsbury’s Harry Potter Night and we are asking ourselves WHY haven’t we done this before! We have run a very successful Y7 Christmas quiz (Battle of the Bookatrons) for years and maybe assumed older students wouldn’t be so keen to partake. How wrong could we be!!

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Ten teams from Y8 and Y9 rocked in for a lunchtime event, high on excitement before we had even started. Some just wanted to join in with a quiz, others had practiced their HP knowledge seriously over the past two weeks and the teachers’ team were just outright competitive!

I think we feared if we couldn’t put on such a perfectly decorated event as other schools, a half-hearted activity wouldn’t work. But we really needn’t have worried. A few imaginatively designed snacks, student baked cakes, a sorting hat and HP glasses were all we needed. Prizes were bought from Scholastic (HP Journals and light-up wand pens) with our Book Fair points and we added a few books left over from the fair too. Our biggest concern was the Butter Beer Recipe – needing something quick, easy and cheap. (Inbox us if you wish details!) We opened with a soundtrack from Youtube and ran five rounds with about 10 questions in each, using pictures and gifs on a powerpoint to add variety.

BIG THANKS to Churchill and Hans Price Academies for sharing their quizzes to inspire us. And to our Scores-on-the-doors assistants, the English Department for joining us at the last minute (maybe we should run a separate Staff Quiz!!!) Mr Nunes for announcing the winners, and the lovely students who went to the trouble of baking the most amazing cakes.

YES, we will be running this again – and are also planning less formal termly quizzes in our Reading Room. Maybe we could find some student Quiz Masters to compile and run them.







Holocaust Memorial Day 27/1


To support P & R lessons this month, the Library has installed a display with a collection of factual books about the Holocaust and fictional stories of modern day refugees and asylum seekers as well as the historical period.

Come and read about personal stories behind the headlines that are still relevant today.



We have published two reading lists containing classic titles and more recently published stories. Click here for the pdf: 2017-holocaust-memorial-reading-list











Write a story in just 500 words

500-words-lesson-2017We have been promoting the Radio 2 500 Words competition in Y7 Library lessons this week. Many students have entered in the past, either on their own or through their Primary school. They can continue to participate until their 13th year so we are keen to encourage them to participate.

We have watched the promotional video followed by the prize winning entries being read aloud from the Globe Theatre in London last year (a great resource for lessons). Mrs Gibson and Mrs Wood continue to be judges and their top tip would be: think of a small clever scenario and elaborate with the detail. These winners are perfect examples of this and have got the students wondering if they could create something similar.

Go online here to find out more, and click here to watch and listen to some of the past entries for yourselves. Get inspired and have a go – you know you want to!