The National Year of Reading at our College

Our final event was run this week. It has been a very busy year with the extra emphasis on really highlighting reading, in all its forms, and trying to engage our students in our different activities. I have posted before but this is a summary of the events run this year. The “Hear It” event involved a panel speaking about writing for Young Adults as well as YA books in general. All the speakers were very generous with their time and the whole event was like a conversation that the audience was invited to listen in on. We had supper after and our speakers stayed and talked with our students and their parents. Our students really appreciated the writers talking to them and answering their questions. The authors were Bec Kavanagh, Declan Fay and Tim Pegler and they spoke very highly of our boys and the conversations they had with them. It was a wonderful evening, well-coordinated by one of our TL’s, Catherine Morton, and our Principal welcomed everyone to the event with a very gracious speech.

We gave all the students (and a few parents) “snap bands” with our library blog address. At the beginning of the evening we had indicated to everyone that we would be posting the information from the evening on the blog. The writers kindly gave us their recommendations beforehand so we just had to add anything that came up during the course of the evening. These wristbands have been very popular this year. We gave them out on our Open Day as well as at the “Hear It!” event. There is a photo in my NYR flickr set.

Everyone in the library has been overseeing one of the events and supported by other staff. The whole group has done a fantastic job and raised the profile of the library at our school right across the board.

Libraries, bookshops, publishers and writers were all encouraged to celebrate reading in all its forms, throughout the community. This meant that alongside the traditional books we, at WFC, celebrated the reading of magazines and newspapers, reading in digital formats such as e-books and the many different styles of reading that occur daily, often without anyone realizing they are doing it.

We contributed to our weekly bulletin, the “In Fide”, each week and had the NYR logo prominently displayed as the College community read about some of the activities the students enjoyed.

We began with a very successful launch of the activities during lunchtime early in Term 2 and followed up with many different and successful activities that celebrated and promoted reading throughout the year, with the final event “Hear It” being held during the evening of Tuesday 30 October. This involved a panel of writers discussing reading and writing for teenagers followed by supper.

We were very pleased that quite a number of teachers and students volunteered to be Whitefriars Reading Ambassadors this year. They shared their reading preferences and habits as well as promoted reading to the College community. Their posters have been on display in the Shortis Library and mentioned in “In Fide” as well as on our blog.

A weekly quiz ran with many boys and teachers answering reading-related questions to accumulate points towards becoming the overall winner, who will receive a book of their choice.

“Read It!” was set up to encourage boys to borrow when their English classes visited the library. Every boy who borrowed a book during that class was given a raffle ticket. The raffle was drawn at the end of each fortnight. The canteen vouchers prizes were the favourite choice followed by USBs. Some boys were heard to ask their teachers if the class should come to the library every English period.

“Snap It!” was the photography competition that ran throughout Term 2 and finished on Friday 17 August. We asked students to enter photographs that celebrated reading, including reading in unusual places. This meant that some of the boys used their creativity and Photoshop skills to create some very unusual shots. We had them as part of our display during Book Week as well as on the computers around the library as screen savers. A slide show of the photographs, playing on the big television screen, also ran some lunchtimes.

The photos created quite a talking point with the other students once they were on display and we encouraged all students and staff to vote for the People’s Choice Award. One of the photographs, a panoramic view of the library has been chosen for the banner photo on our intranet pages. We will make use of all the photographs entered to promote reading and the College Library in the future. All the boys should be proud of their efforts. We were supported by our photography teacher Alison Agnew, and assistant Linda Baker, who encouraged the boys to take on the task. Many of the boys appreciate Mrs Agnew’s skill in teaching them how to “see” and observe things as well as the more manual photographic skills.

You can see a slide show of the photos the boys entered on our library blog.

The second National Year of Reading Competition also finished with a voting component. The “Film It!” competition involved students creating short videos that again celebrated books and reading. We had boys enter book trailers and some specific videos about reading. To give the boys some ideas about what direction they might take, we ran some of the internet videos that celebrated reading and books, during lunchtimes throughout Term 2. We also regularly show book trailers to promote the books in the library collection. Our own student videos ran each day during lunchtime during Book Week, with voting taking place both in the library and on-line via our intranet.  The trailers can also be seen on our library blog.

The final lively event was “Hear it!” which involved a panel of writers discussing reading and writing for teenagers, concluding with a supper for parents and students. Our library technician wrote a very good post on our library site about the “Hear It!” evening.

Below are links to some of the posts with some of our Reading Ambassadors:

We were lucky to many who were happy to volunteer or to be asked – we wanted a variety of people in the school so apart from some students we had staff – male and female, teachers who taught in various subject areas and non-teaching personnel from the principal, the chaplain and one of our maintenance (and avid environmentalist) staff.

Below are links to some of the posts with some of our Reading Ambassadors:

Fr Kierce ( former principal and WFC institution); A maths teacher; PE teacherVCE Co-Ordinator;

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