More young people are reading for pleasure – Don’t forget the impact of school librarians!

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.

scholars 2015

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’

BBC News More pupils than “reading for pleasure” Useful summary of the survey findings in this report.

The Guardian headline focuses on digital media ‘girls like digital media while boys prefer print

The Telegraph reports that  Girls ‘are reading more than boys,’ boosted by ‘Twilight effect’ ….’novels like Twilight make reading “cool” for girls, new research shows

Revision Tips and websites – Do you know the Gojimo app?

The exams are just around the corner! Good luck to all our IB students who start their exams on 4th May – Bank Holiday Monday – when many of us are enjoying a day off. IGCSE exams commence on Tuesday 5th May. Best of luck to all of you.

I’m sure many of you know the following websites but here’s a reminder of useful revision places:

Gojimo I’ve recently come across a free revision app called gojimo It was created by a student for students and is available for Apple and android devices and also via the website to use for online study. It covers the major subjects at IGCSE, GCSE and A Level. Gauge your current knowledge of a subject by trying a quick random test or revise topics.

Memrise claims to “make learning languages and vocab so full of joy and life, you’ll laugh out loud.” It does seem to be a way of making vocab learning less painful and more game-like.

Quizlet  “Study Tools – Quizlet’s flashcards, tests, and study games make learning fun and engaging for students of all ages.”

If you are as obsessed as Mr Atherton with improving your knowledge of the Geography of countries of the world try these tests of your knowledge.

Do you know Africa? ( quick quiz from the Washington Post)

World Geography Games – This fun interactive quiz improves your knowledge of countries and continents

Here’s some useful advice from The Student Room website about good study and revision habits.

and more Top Tips for Revision from

Don’t forget to use the Library! The librarians are here to help you – with book suggestions, inter-library book and article loans, assistance with the e-library online resources, essay research and referencing and lots more. We always welcome your questions.

The Spiritual Room (the former Auchinleck Room) is a designated silent area so this is the place to go for getting solid individual work or revision done. If you are working together – talking over topics and testing each other then the glass pods are the place to be. Please leave the Library quietly and do think of others by taking all your books and files etc with you when you leave for lunch and breaks to free up space for others.




Carnegie Book Award Shadowing is underway!

carnegie shortlist 2015

CILIP Carnegie Medal 2015 shortlist:

  • Apple and rain by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury)
  • When Mr Dog bites by Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury)
  • More than this by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)
  • Buffalo soldier by Tanya Landman (Walker Books)
  • Tinder by Sally Gardner (Orion Children’s Books)
  • Cuckoo song by Frances Hardinge (Pan Macmillan)
  • The fastest boy in the world by Elizabeth Laird (Pan Macmillan)
  • The middle of nowhere by Geraldine McCaughrean (Usborne Books)

This year’s beautifully colour-coordinated collection of shortlisted books have arrived! We discussed them with Book Chat club on Wednesday and they chose to start reading The Fastest Boy in the World and When Mr Dog Bites first. We have multiple copies of the books and are hoping to shadow the prize with a number of 3rd form tutor groups. 5 of the titles are also available as e-books. Are you up for the challenge of reading all 8 over the Easter holidays? If this is too much you have until 22nd June to read them and choose your winner!

carnegie 2015

On Monday 23rd March the Y9 Scholars and Exhibitioners started their shadowing. They enthusiastically chose shortlisted titles to read over the Easter holidays.

Happy World Book Day – Thursday 5th March 2015

group croppedToday 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


Reading Challenge 2015 – Join our Reading Bingo!

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 image

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.



Christmas Holiday Reading recommendations – Staff picks from 2014

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)



Booker Prize Announcement 2014 and holiday reading suggestions

Holiday Reading

flanagan cover image

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.

For non-fiction and subject specific suggestions don’t forget the Top 10 Books and for more fiction suggestions try Tom Wayman’s Wellington 100 and Middle School Reading List

Extreme Reading Photo Competition Winners – Summer 2014

Extreme Reading Photo Competition Winners 

This year our new photographer and designer, Josh Moses, had the tough task of judging the ‘Extreme Reading Competition’. This was done anonymously of course. We were inundated with amazing and creative photos and want to thank all of you for taking part. Look out for the display of all the entries on the panels outside the library and full list of runners up and highly commended.

KC cycling extreme photoMany congratulations to the winners: 

Wellington College Students

1st – Katya (cycling in the rain in Moscow)

2nd – Dominic (accidental scientist explosion)

3rd – Olly  (cave in cliffs)

4th – Posy (in the Blue Cave in Croatia)


Highly commended:

Will , 9Bd (feeding an elephant)

Thomas  9R (in a dragon statue)

Jamie, 9S (jumping off a sea wall)

Jasmine , 9Ap (swinging off a tower)

Felix , 9Bd (reading the Outsiders on a water ski)

Charlie, 9Bl (backflip off a boat)

Drew , 9Hl (reading on Inferno rollercoaster)

Noah , 9Bd (Land’s end sign)

Eve , 9W (on a post in a lake)

William, 9L (mountain bike)

Kitty, 9C (The Pyranees)

Harry , 9Bn (waterskiing reading ‘Diplomatic Immunity)

Nils(top of mast)

Louis  (reading with a dolphin)

Eagle House Students

1st – George, Eagle House 7 (on castle ruins)

2nd – Olly, Eagle House (set of three photos of canoe going over rapids)

3rd – Ben, Eagle House (in the stocks)

4th – Sophia, Eagle House (long jump)

Librarians’ choice award – Sofia (The Diamond Heist)


Winner – Mr Allcock (Head of Classics) on top of the Old Man of Hoy

old man of hoygb extreme reading

Don’t forget the Extreme Reading Photo Competition!

Slack-line reading in France

Slack-line reading in France

The Summer Holiday Extreme Reading Photo Competition is back by popular demand!

Take a photo of yourself reading in an “extreme” place. Be as creative or imaginative as you like (without putting yourself in danger!)  You could win an e-reader.

Encourage your  families to join in!

Email your photos to the Library: before 8th September.












outsiders cover

If you are looking for an exciting and thought-provoking read for the summer try The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

All the new 3rd form will receive a copy of this excellent book from the Librarians. Let’s make it the Wellington Summer Read!

It’s a coming of age story of gangs in the USA, written by a 17 year old girl. It is brilliantly written, has appeal for all ages and doesn’t take long to read.

Read the book and take the brief online book quiz in September. Prizes for the House with the most readers.

You could combine it with the Extreme reading photo competition and read it in an unusual or exotic location.

Two book recommendations – I’ve finally got around to reading ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury and ‘The things they carried’ by Tim O’Brien this summer. Both books are incredible. Ray Bradbury wrote his disturbing, futuristic story in 1953. His first version of the novel took him 9 days to write and he often wrote on hired typewriters in public libraries. In his dystopian world the job of firemen is to burn books as they are forbidden, being deemed the source of all unhappiness.

‘The things they carried’ is a book of short stories linked together through the young US soldiers whose experiences shape the stories. It is a fictional account of the Vietnam war narrated by a veteran. The writing is haunting and disturbing and it has become a classic anti-war book.