A World of Reading

Despite there being roughly 8,000 books to choose from in the school library here at Braidhurst High School, the most common phrase uttered by the classes that visit is: “I can’t find a book!”

At times, over the past four years, when hearing the above statement being uttered, I have guffawed, shrugged, frowned, been exasperated all whilst trying my best to find a book that a pupil will read and enjoy.  

However, whilst contemplating this great dichotomy during one of my rare quiet moments in the library I had a light bulb moment of clarity. “Yes, of course, it’s not that there is not enough choice, but rather too much choice.  And to complicate matters more pupils are practically clueless when it comes to identifying which types of books they like and which they don’t like.”  Ahhhhhhh.  A huge sigh of relief.  

But then I had a greater problem……what to do about it?  How could I help 30 pupils at a time choose a book that they would enjoy? Not only that, but how could I inform them of what choices lay on the shelves for them to discover?  And most importantly, how could I make this FUN?  Was there a solution………?

And so in 2010 the ‘World of Reading’ scheme was born.

At it’s heart the scheme is very simple – it’s an inter house reading competition for all S1 and S2 pupils.  Each week each house group in S1 and S2 visits the library for one period .  One of these periods is spent picking a book.  The next period is spent delivering pupils a ‘lesson’ on a particular genre – informing them of what exactly an……adventure, fantasy, horror…….story is and charging them to discuss and reflect on whether or not this genre is their cup of tea or not i.e.: introducing them to the ‘World of Reading’.  And so this should help them the next week when they visit the library to pick a book.

Not only do I endeavour to make the ‘lessons’ fun and interactive but each pupil also earns points for their house group with each book they read, therefore, encouraging them to get competitive.

Furthermore, to encourage them to read widely and to be open minded to new genres they are awarded more points when they borrow a new genre they have not tried before.  However, to ensure fairness they earn one point regardless of the genre.

The ‘World of Reading’ is not a recipe for perfect, whole sale success but it does give the pupils a framework to work through when picking a book to read plus it’s a way for pupils to gain house points which could make a difference, come June, to who wins the inter house shield and more importantly who wins the ‘World of Reading’ trophy, and by participating in the lessons they are becoming better informed, more confident readers.

Well, that’s the grand hope anyhow………

Kirsten

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