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A new initiative to get more Blue Coat School students reading is set to be launched next term thanks to a team of bookworms, eager to share their passion for the written word.

The team, comprised of five Year 12 English students, will promote more widespread reading in a series of presentations, which will be shared virtually, with all year groups, during form time.   

These are more than just mere PowerPoints, with our team of bibliophile speakers taking advantage of the new technology available to staff and students, thanks to last summer’s IT infrastructure investment. As well as delivering pre-recorded presentations, members of the team will also be beamed live into classrooms. 

With project preparations well and truly underway, student Librarian Rosie remarked, “I really wanted to get involved with this project because access to books within School has been limited due to COVID, and some of our younger students might not be reading as much as they would like or not know what to read next.

“We will be suggesting a variety of books in different genres aimed at different age groups to demonstrate that there is something for everyone! Hopefully, this will encourage students across the school to get stuck into a book. We will also be promoting creative writing competitions and sharing where you can still access books until libraries and bookshops open again.”

For Anna, “the project seeks to encourage students of all ages to expand their range of reading, with the aim of hopefully inspiring more students to read for fun.”

Keeping a watchful eye on the team, Mr Kershaw, Head of English. “My A-Level group is very enthusiastic, and I’m incredibly proud of the work they have already achieved behind the scenes as the project prepares to go live. With so many books to chose from, the team is currently reviewing possible weekly themes to give structure to the project.”

Themes suggested so far are many and varied, including ‘best of books’ lists, such as science fiction, young adult fiction, non-fiction, politics, poetry, romance, humour, fantasy, horror, comfort or challenging reads. Individual reads could be students’ and teachers’ favourite books, featured authors, desert island books, books you like reading to younger siblings.

Subjects could tie in with anniversaries such as the Black Lives Matter movement, marking the anniversary of Martin Luther King leading the third Civil Rights march on 21 March 1965; World Health Day on 7 April; the centenary of the first ‘bloody Sunday’ in Ireland on 10 July 1921.

Mr Kershaw added: “We’re also considering a best book review competition, taking a look at audiobooks, podcasts and streamed books. Then there’s scripts, film or tv adaptations, and Tiktok recommendations.”

Looking ahead, our students can look forward to hearing from Anna who will be discussing Ponti by Sharlene Kao, “which invokes a lot of emotions, as you follow the characters’ lives and feel you know them really well.”

Sofia will be exploring, Homer’s Iliad, “which after thousands of years is still a great story, with beautiful language. It’s one of the major books in Western literature.”

Aoife will be sharing her love of Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, which she describes “as simultaneously heart-warming, emotional, and sad.”

Honor will focus on Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, “a modern classic based on a really interesting concept. People are put off by Burgess’ invented language, which is in fact quite easy to understand.”   

Rosie’s choice is Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, “a great ‘comfort book’ which is such fun to re-read and it takes you back to childhood, but as an older person you realise how cleverly written it is.”

Clearly, there’s no danger of running out of subject matter. In fact, this idea could run and run!

Read more in Extra-curricular, Curriculum

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