Don’t forget to send us your Extreme Reading Photos for the summer holiday competition. Here’s a very late entry from last year. It’s Mr Townley on the Hannibal Alps trip. We’re hoping for some good ones from this year’s Classics trip walking the length of Hadrian’s Wall.
The Open University is now offering Badged Open Courses for anyone wanting to try online courses, starting anytime. Learners can work at their own pace, signing up any time and on completion gain a digital badge which can be shared with employers, UCAS etc. Each course takes 24 hours to complete. Try something new like forensic psychology or develop your Maths skills with two levels of courses. Accounts are currently available to age group 16+
There are over 800 free courses including many introductory courses (without badges) – some of which only take 5 hours to complete. See the full list here
This summer holiday is longer than ever and the opportunities to stretch yourselves, learn new skills and escape into a good book are vast. We look forward to all your entries to this year’s Extreme Reading Photo Competition too!
For non-fiction reading suggestions don’t forget the Top Ten Reads (especially beneficial for those of you in 5th and 6th form and a chance to develop your knowledge of the subjects you are passionate about in Preparation for A levels and IB)
For fiction remember Mr Wayman’s (Head of English)Wellington 100 book suggestions. An eclectic mix of classic and contemporary fiction.
There are masses of reading ideas on the Lovereading4kids website including suggestions by age and theme and helpful additional information about authors. It is particularly useful for finding out about recently published books. For adults try lovereading.co.uk
The Carnegie Medal – awarded each year by school librarians for an outstanding children’s book is a good source of contemporary fiction suggestions for young people from 10 – 16.
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)
MOOCS enable all of us to dip into free online courses and to try new things. Have an explore of the big course providers below:
iTunesU Courses available on iPads and Apples devices.
Don’t overlook Twitter as a brilliant source of links, blogs, websites, quizzes and information. It is a fascinating source for enrichment and learning. Choose who you follow carefully and follow your passions.
Here are a couple of my favourites:
Open Culture @openculture The best FREE cultural & educational media on the web. Features free courses, movies, audio books, eBooks & thought-provoking daily posts.
I always find unusual, obscure and fascinating things I didn’t know on this website.
Brainpickings@brainpickings (also @brainpicker) from Maria Popover
Periodic Videos Your youtube channel for all things Chemistry (from the School of Chemistry at the University of Nottingham) More chemistry at http://www.periodicvideos.com/ My favourites are experiments on coca cola and creme eggs.
Did you hear Alain de Botton at the Festival of Education? He gave a very interesting talk about the things we don’t educate young people in. Have a watch of the videos in his School of Life youtube channel. Thought-provoking and challenging!
If you are curious about Medicine and Science why not visit the Wellcome Collection in London. It’s free and fascinating. It also has plenty of information and research online plus an images collection here
If you are a Geography fan or just keen to improve your chances in the inter-house quizzes try these Geography Games
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‘The free destination for the incurably curious’ and a must for students keen to study Medicine
After an interesting day visiting Westminster School Library and talking to other school librarians I made a quick dash to the Wellcome Collection before it closed at 6pm one Saturday last month. What a jaw-dropping place! You don’t have to be a budding medic to find this collection fascinating – it’s equally appealing to anyone interested in art or science too. The whole centre is free and you can wander in, take a leaflet to lead you on a trail, pick up an audio guide to dip into a range of exhibits which pique your interest or sit down and become absorbed in a book. Many of the galleries blend art and creativity in the exhibits alongside the medical information.
I found myself engrossed in viewing a collection of tools for the amputation of limbs over the ages whilst listening to surgeons’ accounts of operations now and in the past on an audio guide.
Choose your experience and follow the trail. From ‘pulse racing’ to ‘toe curling’
I love the ethos of the Wellcome Collection. This sign in the Reading Room says it all.
‘Come and experience the new incarnation of our Reading Room. An innovative hybrid of gallery, library and events space, the Reading Room is designed to encourage you to indulge your curiosity and explore more than ever before.
With over a thousand books and 100 objects – including contemporary sculptures, paintings, medical artefacts and manuscripts – the room is an open invitation to dig a little deeper into what it means to be human.
Settle down with a book from our shelves on a comfy sofa, contemplate life quietly or strike up a conversation with a stranger. You will find plenty here to inspire you. Drop by to spark connections and new ideas.
Located on level 2, the Reading Room is open during gallery opening hours. Just come whenever you have a moment – you may even chance upon one of our pop-up Reading Room events.’
So much to learn and amaze and I didn’t even have time to explore the shop!
Browse the whole Human Genome!
Back to our school library:
Don’t forget we have a collection of physical books on medicine in the Library as well as a growing collection of e-books. Here’s the current medicine reading list of printed books in the Library.
Lower 6th: Why not try the 6 Book Reading Challenge during the long summer break? Fuel your curiosity and invigorate your intellect for your final school year. You could try reading the same book as a group of your friends and discussing your responses when you come back in September. More excellent science books on the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science website and the Wellcome Book Prize too.
The Wellcome Library is free to join and you can access their wide-range of resources and read fascinating blogs.
As an interested layperson here is my suggested recipe for a medical summer:
Read 6 books: From the Library or our e-book collection or public libraries, or bookshops or anywhere!
A lecture: Listen to The Reith Lectures by Dr Atul Gawande on The Future of Medicine (on Radio 4 iplayer) ‘Surgeon and writer Atul Gawande explores the nature of fallibility and suggests that preventing avoidable mistakes is a key challenge for the future of medicine.’ (Radio 4 iplayer)
The National Literacy Trust questioned 32,000 pupils aged eight to 18 and the survey suggests ‘enjoyment and frequency of reading are both at their highest levels for nine years’ (BBC News)
This is such positive news and it’s encouraging to see that the press have picked it up. I heard Jonathan Douglas of the National Literacy Trust talking about the report on Radio 5 Live yesterday morning. It was a very brief interview but he highlighted the fact that they’d included questions on digital reading in the survey this time. He mentioned that it is as important for children to be able to read emails as it is for them to read Jane Austen today.
My only gripe is the lack of mention of school librarians and school libraries in the press coverage. As school librarians we are passionate about inspiring young people to read for pleasure and promote an enthusiastic reading culture in our schools – whether it be fiction or popular science, biography, history – you name it we encourage it! Key to enthusing children and young people to read is allowing them the freedom to choose their own reading material and not be judgemental. I only hope this report doesn’t bring in its wake articles criticising children’s reading choices. As adults we don’t all read weighty classics all of the time!
School librarians are experts in books for children and young adults. We read as many books as possible, keep up with the latest releases through The Bookseller, School Librarian publication and the press. Film tie-ins are hugely popular with our pupils and we make sure we stock these. We offer e-books which can be read on pupils’ phones and other mobile devices so that they need never be without a good book in the holidays.
As the report acknowledges, reading initiatives are a great way of inspiring children. The Summer Reading Challenge in UK public libraries engages younger children in particular and teenagers as ‘reading activists’. In our school Shadowing the Carnegie Book Award gets pupils reading the same 8 shortlisted novels and heated debates occur over there responses to the books. Although the survey found that boys are reading less than girls in our school the boys often appear to be keener to share their reading and ask for book recommendations. Our breaktime ‘Book Chat’ book club is frequently boys only although a few girls are starting to come along.
Parents can help too by reading with their children but also as reading role-models – sharing their book choices and reading with their children.
Press coverage of the children’s reading habits survey.
It’s interesting to see the way the different newspapers and news websites emphasise different aspects of the report:
The BBC reports that ‘Increasing numbers of UK schoolchildren are choosing to read in their spare time, with six in 10 having a favourite work of fiction, research suggests’
Today is World Book Day and we are celebrating books and reading today! Looking forward to seeing pupils and staff in the Library at break this morning for cookies, brownies and our Opening Lines of Books quiz.
Try your hand at this 10 Second Book Quiz (many thanks to Sue, the Librarian at Roedean for sharing this one!) It is also on the screens in the Dining Hall today.
On a day when we celebrate our enjoyment of books and reading why not support Book Aid International? This charity is changing people’s lives through the supply of books, resources and support of libraries in Africa. Watch Samuel’s story here
As a fun challenge to encourage us all to try new books, genres, formats for 2015 we’ve adopted Random House Canada’s reading bingo challenge from 2014.
All are welcome to pick up a bingo card in the Library and start making a line. The ultimate challenge is to read 25 books by the end of the Summer Term or by the end of December 2015. The Hopetoun Y9 girls had a session in the Library during tutorial on Monday and enthusiastically took up our challenge.
We’re looking forward to hearing about all your reading choices and are hoping to make a huge bingo card to display all the books read as post it notes on all the squares.
I read ’13 reasons why’ by Jay Asher at the very end of 2014 so sadly can’t use this amazing book as my “Book with a number in the title” for this year. However, I read ‘The Paying Guests’ by Sarah Waters (highly recommended and beautifully written – a literary page turner) and it was 560 pages so that qualifies for the top left square. I’ve just completed the wonderful ‘Persepolis’ by Marjane Satrapi. This book is one of a kind – the biography of Marj growing up as a young girl in Iran told as a graphic novel. Her strong, defiant character is powerfully portrayed along with her humour. As well as a personal coming of age story it is incredibly informative about life in Iran from the 1970’s to the 1990’s.
Books of the Year 2014 and holiday recommendations
I’ve been canvassing opinion for some of the favourite books read or published this year. Here is the eclectic mix of choices from some of our teachers and the Library staff.
I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban – Malala Yousafzai
Ms Atherton The things they carried – Tim O’Brien. This book was recommended to me some years ago and I finally read it over the summer. It is an incredible book – both a novel and collection of inter-linked stories of the men in a platoon in the Vietnam War. It is a fictional account but the author based it on his own experiences of the Vietnam War. The detail and experiences of the soldiers feel so real and the book has become a powerful anti-war classic.
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
We were liars – E. Lockhart
Dr Williams recommends the crime fiction of Canadian writer Louise Penny
Lewis Dartnell has written a book this year entitled The Knowledge: How to rebuild our world from scratch
It has been described by The Guardian as “A terrifically engrossing History of Science and Technology” and by Nature journal as “The Ultimate do-it-yourself guide to ‘rebooting’ human civilisation”
What Milo Saw – Virginia Macgregor
Mr Hendrick – Stoner by John Williams, Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Mr Atherton (Maths) Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre – The fascinating true spy story that changed the course of World War II
Dr Rosen (Biology) told us that he is working his way through the free classics on his Kindle! One he found amazing was The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. An epic exploration of the human psyche.
Ms Wright(Library Assistant) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys This proved a hugely popular book when it was on the Carnegie Shortlist in 2012. It is a moving account of a Lithuanian family’s arrest and deportation to Siberia following the Russian occupation of their country during World War II. See a pupil’s review here
Mrs Wayman – A Tale for the Time being by Ruth Ozeki and The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Man Booker Prize Winner 2014)
On Tuesday 14th October the Booker Prize winner was announced. This year marked the first time non-Commonwealth writers were eligible for the prize. Contrary to the fears of an American takeover it was won by Australian writer Richard Flanagan with his book ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’. The novel recounts the experiences of a fictional surgeon in a Japanese prisoner of war camp on the Thailand-Burma railway. Flanagan’s father was a Japanese prisoner of war in a camp on the Thailand-Burma railway and Flanagan felt compelled to write the book – in fact it took him 12 years and five versions to finish it. Read more about it here and have a browse of the other shortlisted titles. Another brilliant book on this harrowing subject is ‘The Railway Man’ by Eric Lomax. This is a first-hand account of the ordeal of being a prisoner on the Thailand-Burma railway (made into a film in 2013). If this is too much misery I am assured that Booker Shortlisted title ‘We are all completely beside ourselves’ by Karen Jay Fowler is “hilarious and heartbreaking” so definitely some humour amidst the sadness.