Thursday, 25 February 2016

New Student Librarian heralds World Book Day


Rhys Fourie of Year 9 (seated, centre) amongst fellow Key Stage 3 students, has taken over as Student Librarian, with responsibility for the cataloguing and good order of the Library environment, its books and other resources on a day to day basis.

In good time for World Book Day (Thursday 3rd March), the Library and a wide range of both class based lessons and tutor periods will be emphasising the value of reading throughout the whole week surrounding Book Day. Whilst Primary students and teachers will dress up as their favourite literary character, secondary year groups from Year 7 up to Sixth Form will be enjoying dedicated periods of quiet reading for pleasure as well as anecdotal sharing of reading experiences across the full spectrum of quality. Mr Roper will be promoting and provoking thoughts and responses around the theme of 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' in terms of our reading habits and experiences, where your views will be welcome for discussion. Here are a few starting points for consideration:

The Library is benefiting from wider stocking of outstanding twentieth century writers who are both challenging yet accessible for a range of secondary ages and abilities. Anyone can enjoy - and many students already have - a typical Graham Greene short story (The Destructors: the gang of schoolboys who wickedly yet darkly wonderfully demolish from within the decrepit house of an anti social pensioner whilst he is away for a Bank Holiday) or one of his full novels (Brighton Rock: the timeless tale of Pinkie, another teenage villain who terrorises the seedier areas of a seaside town). Or George Orwell, containing at one level the wider, universal themes of Animal Farm and 1984, at another the micro descriptive eye of genius: 'Winston noticed some tufts of loosestrife, growing in the cracks of the cliff below, one of them of two colours - magenta and brick red - apparently growing on the same root. He had not seen anything of the kind before ...'

Reading that manner of concentrated nuance and those kind of creative stories is of such improving stimulation and delight to the mind that it is equally valuable for aspiring young students, needing to excel with their own reading comprehension and writing skills, and discerning adults of all ages.

We shall be debating how near to, or how far away, a lot of popular reading choices are from this kind of literary quality. Do you agree with the critic who dismissed J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series as being 'flat as stale English beer'; do you mind overwhelming cliché in teenage fiction by Patrick Ness, for instance; how bad or ugly is it? And what of questionable grammatical idioms: 'gotten' and 'off of' ... there is a good talking point: our American English influenced saturation media is returning to us what were original old English expressions transported to America by seventeenth century settlers: read the great early prose novels in the English language, from this era, and find Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and John Bunyan's Pilgrim both pronouncing their 'gottens' and 'off ofs', page after page .... food for thought as we experience Reading Week.