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World Book Day at Rendcomb College Junior School

Mr Gavin Roberts, Head of Juniors at Rendcomb College, talks about literacy in schools and how we encourage every child to discover a love of reading from Nursery to Year 6 and beyond:

At Rendcomb, we aim to teach a love of reading and it is our opinion that children should learn and appreciate that reading is a pleasure and not just something that they are made to do at school. World Book Day is a fantastic way to celebrate books but we would love to share with you some of the many other things we do at Rendcomb to encourage a love of reading for pleasure and some of the reasons why we think reading is so important:

"Reading gives us somewhere to go when we have to stay where we are." (Mason Cooley)

Reading offers us a chance to escape to other worlds and to exercise our imagination. We want our pupils to recognise that it’s important to think about what they have read and the 2019 Page Turners Reading Challenge has helped our pupils to do this.

The challenge consists of 8 separate tasks which need to be completed after pupils have read 8 different texts. Pupils chose texts from age appropriate reading lists and enjoyed working through the variety of activities.

Year 5 pupil, Ella (below), completed the challenge and said: “The best thing about the 8 book challenge was the reading! I read factual, comedy and mystery books. I completed different tasks like making a poster displaying all the facts I learnt from the WW1 book and designing a new front cover for another one. I’m looking forward to doing the challenge again next year!”

Our youngest pupils took part in their very own version of the reading challenge; our Nursery pupils and parents enjoyed the many different stories contained in our ‘100 Books to Read Before You’re 5 Years Old’. Amazingly, some even managed to enjoy all 100 books!

Mrs Kim Hardie (pictured with Nursery children above), our Head of EYFS and Nursery Manager said: “The children are able to choose to read a range of books, both fact and fiction. Among the 100 books are modern texts as well as books that the childrens’ parents will have enjoyed when they were growing up. Within the Nursery, books really enhance the learning experience. For example, when the children want to find out more about a bug they found in Forest School, they come back to the Nursery and they know how to find the book about minibeasts and find the right section within it.”  

"A library is thought in cold storage" (Herbert Samuel)

We live in an age where information is so readily accessible via the internet but it is vitally important that our pupils recognise the value of books as an information source. It is widely accepted that a child who reads will grow up to be an adult who thinks and it was directly as a result of our pupils’ thoughts and views that the recent ideas for improvements to Junior School library arose.

The Junior School Council suggested that the time was right to purchase new texts and our pupils were able to offer plenty of suggestions as to just how the budget should be spent. Cleodie and Luke helped to choose new books for the Library. Cleodie said: "I loved having a say in what books we have because it's our Library!" Luke said: "Also, it's like having Christmas or a birthday when the boxes arrive full of the new books that we've ordered."

Not content with just buying over 300 new books; Junior School Council also helped to come up with ideas for our new book corner based around the idea of bringing the outdoors indoors. Our Estates Team set to work on creating us a ‘Book Tree.’

Junior School pupils are free to borrow books from the library as they please but our Librarians have worked hard to keep the room organised and looking as tidy as possible.  Ben and Henry, both in Year 3, are the Librarians this year. Ben said: “I like stamping the books!” Henry said: “I like sorting them out like when you find a book with a green dot in the red dot section. The dots help us choose the books we want to read; green dots are for Year 3 and 4 and red dots are for Year 5 and 6.”

"The more you read, the more things you know. The more you know, the more places you'll go." (Dr Seuss)

Reading for pleasure correlates strongly with academic achievement. There is a huge amount of research which proves that young people who regularly read books not only achieve more academically but also significantly increase their chances of getting strong qualifications leading to better jobs.

Reading is also good for our health with international studies finding that regular readers suffer less stress and have fewer mental health issues in adult life than those who can read but choose not to.

Reading Assemblies in the Junior School are an opportunity for pupils to stop everything and read and they play an important role in helping our pupils to take a few moments silence in what can be a very busy school week.

One of the great strengths of Rendcomb is the way in which our school community encourages our older pupils to support those in the younger age groups. Buddy Reading sessions are always a highlight of a school week.