“Physical books are tough, hard to destroy, bath resistant, solar operated, feel good in your hand: they are good at being books, and there will always be a place for them” - Neil Gaiman
At Wheatley Park School we believe in the value and importance of reading for pleasure. Research tells us that children and young people who read for pleasure are more likely to do better at school, have greater access to the education, training and jobs that interest them and grow into more thoughtful, imaginative and resourceful young people.
From September 2019, the library has gone through a transformation. It has increased in size and is a bright, engaging and calm space that is well-stocked with tempting books for students to choose and read. The library is in the heart of the English faculty in the John Milton Centre and the librarian works closely with the department to create a buzz about books and a culture of reading. Library lessons are held for years 7, 8 and 9 to promote reading and showcase a wide range of books. The library is a space for all and lots of other activities take place there, for example, the Reading Buddies programme, where Year 11 read with Year 7 students, enrichment activities such as writing workshops and careers workshops. The Library is open most break and lunchtimes for students to borrow books, do private study or sit and read. Various activities are available such as Book Club, Warhammer Club, and occasional film screenings.
Year 7 and 8 library lessons are focused on reading for pleasure and to help with this we have introduced the reading program Accelerated Reader. This is a program that is designed to help students find the right level of book, encourage wider reading and experience rewards as they improve their key reading skills. Students take the STAR reading test which helps us to direct students to the right level of book so that they are reading at a level that is ‘about right’ for them. Students then take quizzes on the books they read and are informed instantly how well they have done. The librarian and English teacher work together to provide individual support and feedback during library lessons. It is recommended that children and young people read at least 20 minutes a day.
There is a helpful parent’s guide to Accelerated Reader on the Renaissance Learning website - here. If you have any questions about Accelerated Reader, please contact Mrs Lanczak in the library.
A number of events are organised throughout the year:
Kids Lit Quiz - for many years Wheatley Park School has entered teams into the Kids Lit Quiz. In November 2019 two teams went to Cokethorpe School to take part in the regional competition. They did brilliantly! One team was only half a mark from coming third. It was great fun and the students were superb ambassadors.
Accelerated Reader - we held an Accelerated Reader Information event for parents in December. It was a well attended, informative and fun evening that included quizzes and discussions about books.
Book Fair - the Christmas half-price was a great success and sales earned us some free new books for the library. We were able to choose a diverse range of titles, both traditional books and graphic novels, that we hope will appeal to our full range of students.
Creative Writing Workshops - a variety of workshops take place. We are excited to welcome a local author who will be leading a session with Year 10 on writing poetry from the spring-board of a painting in the Ashmolean Museum. The librarian will be leading a poetry writing workshop for entry in the Kit Arnold Poetry Competition on the theme of ‘New beginnings, rebirth, renaissance, resurrection’.
Other events take place, including shadowing the Carnegie Medal and activities around World Book Day. World Book Day is 5th March 2020.
The library hosts a careers hub where students can find out about courses, events and apprenticeships. A representative from City of Oxford College holds a drop-in session every term at lunch-time and students can find out about courses and complete applications.
You can access the school library online at https://wheatleypark.slls.online/
Here you can search through all of the library’s stock and see which books are available.
Zena Lanczak, School Librarian and Careers Assistant,
PGCE English, PGCert Literacy Difficulties (AMBDA)