Reading Round-Up 2022-23!

What a jam-packed reading year we have had here at HTCS since September, which is reflected in our book issues that have almost tripled from the previous year to an impressive 2343 book loans!

The College places huge value on Reading for Pleasure and the life-long benefits reading brings, such as increased empathy, mental well-being, a wider vocabulary and an improvement in GCSE grades and endeavours to encourage, support and inspire students’ reading habits wherever possible.

We have had a visit from the inspirational author, film-maker and adventurer, Matt Dickinson, who spoke to our Year 7, 8, 9 , MLD and ARC students, enthralling them with tales of Mount Everest, highlighting how exciting books can be when they transport you on amazing journeys. Our Student Librarians were lucky enough to take part in a writing workshop and Matt engaged some inspired Year 10 students with a careers discussion prompting the quote: “Bring him more!” from Isaac.

World Book Day was a resounding success, with week-long events such as the Golden Ticket competition, fancy dress, parties for Reading Champs, a story in a day, a sponsored read (which raised over £100 for charity and earned The Hub some free books) and the brilliant green screen, where our GCSE Photography students took photos of both students and staff with their favourite novel and edited them so that the reader was actually transported into the magical land created by the authors. The effect was amazing thanks to the talent of the students showing, once again, the journey you can take with a book.

Magazine Mornings are also a hit where young people are provided with a nourishing breakfast whilst browsing a selection of magazines such as Geographical, Wildlife, Science Focus, Four Four Two, All About Space, All About History and How it Works. Students can flick through the magazines and enjoy reading the most up to date articles and ideas. – a great way to start anyone’s day, feeding the body and mind.  Break and lunch times are not forgotten, when Ms Longstaff can be seen outside with a selection of books to chill with. The Hub also opens at 8:00AM and closes at 4:00PM to allow time to exchange or read books, or complete homework.

To ensure that students have access to books at home, up-coming Year 7 students are given transition boxes containing a novel, a hundred Year 8 students were able to select a book of their own through the Bookbuzz reading scheme and books were given as presents for various special days such as International Book Giving Day and Valentines Day.  A very successful half-price Scholastic book fair was held in the Hub which led to enthusiastic book talk amongst students eager to grab a bargain, earning free books for our library and our CMP Club held their own book fair with book-themed games and competitions all organised by the students themselves – great team effort! Pride of place, in the Heart is HTCS’s latest fabulous acquisition – a Book Vending Machine. Students are awarded literacy points which can be converted into tokens for when the student earns 50 points or more and transformed into a book of their choosing- so much better than chocolate. Book Vending Machine tokens are also awarded to the winners and runners up of The Hub competitions, such as “Describe Your Perfect Library”, “A Random Act of Kindness” and most recently, “Design Wall Art for The Hub”; the winning designs also being given to the professional artist as inspiration for his artwork that will encapsulate High Tunstall’s vision for reading and can be seen by everyone entering the College.

Over the year, the library stock is constantly being updated so that our young people have access to vibrant, readable, inspiring material, with new collections such as the mental well-being section, reluctant reader books, Manga and graphic novels, Yoto Carnegie shortlisted books, revision guides, horror and Pixl recommended reads. As a College, we always listen to student voice and have purchased many titles that have been requested by students, ranging from “How to Play Chess” to the ever popular “Heartstopper” series. Furthermore, by creating book displays in The Hub and on the TV screens, we can raise awareness of various issues important to our young people and ensure The Hub’s book collection contains diverse and inclusive stock. Displays include Pride Month, Refugee Week, Black History Month, Carer’s Week, Ramadan, Disability Pride Month , Go Green for Spring and many more.

At High Tunstall, we are committed to all students reaching their full potential and have a targeted reading programme which begins in Year 7 with a tiered reading system, focusing on students’ needs, whether it is phonics, comprehension and fluency, reluctant readers, or wider reading to stretch our most avid readers. For other year groups the Lexia Power-Up programme is used in conjunction with guided reading and book groups. It is College policy to use Frayer models to expand subject specific vocabulary, “Word of the Week” and the Reciprocal Reading technique is now embedded throughout the curriculum.

Overall, I am m sure you will agree that we are creating a strong culture of reading here at High Tunstall College of Science which we aim to build on in the forthcoming year.

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. —Vera Nazarian