DGS Library is a vibrant and stimulating space which is used regularly both for research and independent studying, as well as for relaxed and enjoyable reading. It is a welcoming and safe environment used by the whole school community on a daily basis, for teaching, learning and academic achievement.

Join our online book group to let us know what you're reading, or ask other students for book recommendations! Email Mrs Barnes for information on how to join.

Follow the DGS Library on Twitter for more book related content and opportunities.

Library opening hours

From September 2020, the library will be open to one year group at a time. The library closes at 4:00pm Monday to Thursday.

Click here for Week A opening hours.

Click here for Week B opening hours.

Year 9 permission

If your daughter is in Year 7 or 8 and you would like to give them permission to read books from the Year 9 section of the library, click here to email Mrs Barnes.

Choosing a library book

We are currently asking students not to touch books in the library unless they intend to borrow that book. Books that are picked up or read but not borrowed by the student should be placed in the book return box at the front of the library, where they will be quarantined for 48 hours before being returned to the shelf.

As it can be hard to choose a book without picking it up, there are a number of things in the library to help students with this:

Book selectorOur book selector takes students through a number of questions before leading them to a genre suggestion and a colour coded box of books they might like!

Posters, also shown in the documents section below, suggest books that students might like to try based on others they have enjoyed.

Our ever-evolving 'If you liked...' list also makes recommendations based on other books.


Genre packsOur genre packs collate recommended books by genre and show the cover of the book as well as the blurb, so that students can look at this without having to pick up the books themselves.

The library catalogue can be accessed here and allows students to search for books by the title or author, or browse the new and popular books.

Reading for Pleasure

Reading posterAs well as boosting literacy skills, Reading for Pleasure has proven mental health benefits. Each class in Year 7 and 8 will spend an English lesson in the library once every two weeks. The focus of this time is to establish and nurture a culture of reading for pleasure.

Students should come to their Reading for Pleasure lesson with a book to read. This can be brought from home or borrowed from the library prior to the lesson.

The library provides a wide range of literature including novels, plays, poetry, graphic novels, short stories, and quick-reads, which includes a dyslexia-friendly collection, and non-fiction. Students will be given an induction during their first library lesson of the year to help them to navigate the books. Mrs Barnes will be available throughout library lessons to help students find books or to make recommendations of what to read.

Students spend up to 45 minutes reading a book of their choice in silence. Following this, students will either complete a short written task reflecting on what they have read, or the teacher will use the last 15 minutes of the lesson to read to students. There is a great deal of research that suggests there are unique benefits to young people being read to, compared to reading independently. This includes helping students to develop their vocabulary by hearing unfamiliar words being used in their appropriate context and supporting students to navigate challenging text or themes in a group setting. Introducing students to a wider range of books than those read independently also facilitates gains in cultural capital by exploring notable texts that will help them to make sense of the world around them and play an active part in society. Listening to a story is also a relaxing and bonding experience for the group.

There are also mornings set aside for reading during Student Guidance Time. Students either read independently during this time, or their tutor will read aloud to them. In this way, we are promoting a whole-school ethos of Reading for Pleasure.

For more details, please see the Reading for Pleasure Strategy.

What should students be reading?

Our focus in the DGS library is Reading for Pleasure, by which we mean giving students the freedom to choose books they enjoy reading.

Our Book Bingo, found in students' planners and at the bottom of this page, is a great place for students to start if they're looking for a book to read. Each bingo card contains 16 books that we think are important contributions to children's and Young Adult literature, in terms of content and language. The difficulty of these books increases as students progress from one bingo card to the next. More details about the Book Bingo can be found below.

Rewarding Reading for Pleasure

This year, we are challenging as many of our students as possible to become Reading Champions! A Reading Champion is a student who reads a wide range of books, including fiction and non-fiction and covering many different genres and authors. They are also prepared to push themselves to read more challenging books, both in terms of language and content.

The first stage to becoming a Reading Champion is for students to complete the Reading Apprentice Bingo Card found on p6 of their planner. On finishing this, they should bring their planner to Mrs Barnes in the library, who will award students 10 House Points, a postcard home, and a Reading Journeyman Bingo Card to complete. On completion of this, students will be awarded a further 20 House Points, a postcard home and a final Reading Champion Bingo Card. In addition to a whopping 30 House Points, Reading Champions will also be awarded a certificate in assembly to celebrate the commitment they have shown to reading these 48 essential books.

There is a Reading Champion pathway for both KS3 and KS4, and both Reading Apprentice Bingo Cards can be found at the bottom of this page.

Reading Champion R4P

Supporting students with their studies

In addition to a wide range of fiction, the library is stocked with text books and revision guides, as well as calculators, that can be borrowed from the library. Click here for a quick view of the text books and revision guides available.

The school also has a subscription to The Day, which provides a student-friendly break down of the news to help our young people stay up to date with, and understand, current affairs.

Reading Ambassadors

Reading AmbassadorsThe Reading Ambassadors are a group of the school's keenest readers, who meet in the library every Wednesday lunchtime. As well as discussing their favourite books, the Reading Ambassadors actively promote reading in every part of the school by helping to plan and run events, assemblies and author visits. 

With the aim of nurturing a love for reading in younger students, the Reading Ambassadors have been taking part in paired reading with Rowling Class at Manor School. Previously, the Ambassadors have also paid regular visits to the Didcot Health and Wellbeing Centre to read with the clients there.

Author visits

Talks and workshops from published authors have a huge impact on students' attitude to books and reading. Research by the National Literacy Trust has found that students who attended author visits are more likely to read at a higher level, to enjoy reading, and to have greater confidence in their reading.

Every academic year, students in Years 7, 8 and 9 enjoy at least one author visit. Over the past few years, we have been pleased to welcome Holly Bourne, Pam Smy, Virginia Bergin, Sally Nicholls and Jo Cotterill, among others.

Library events


GobletHarry Potter Book Night 2020 was our biggest yet, with so many students and staff members putting their name into the Goblet of Fire for their chance to win a prize! Elizabeth Shields was the successful student, and won a chocolate frog!

Lots of students came along for the Hardest Ever Harry Potter quiz, which proved too difficult for any of our students to score 100% on! Congratulations to Nina Winstone, Rosie Beesley and Elisha Small, who came in joint first-place with a score of 15/20.

The Reading Ambassadors did an absolutely amazing job of making props and dressing the library for the Tri-Wizard Tournament themed event. We hope to keep these in the library for students to enjoy over the coming years.

Patron of Reading: Mary Stevens

As we begin another academic year, we are pleased to share that Mary Stevens will be the DGS Patron of Reading for 2019-20!

Mary StevensMary Stevens has lived locally for over twenty years, although was born and brought up on the Isle of Wight. She studied Modern History at Oxford University, and later took a part-time MA in English Language and Literature at Oxford Brookes University while her children were young.

Mary karateShe left classroom teaching in order to specialise in martial arts education and manages a project which uses karate to empower vulnerable young girls in India. She writes children’s fiction for Oxford University Press as MC Stevens. Her series 'Warrior Monkeys’ blends martial arts philosophy, traditional Asian mythology and fast-moving adventures. She is delighted to be working with DGS students to share and promote the benefits of reading.

Mary will be running a book club with two groups of Year 8 students.

The Book Worms are a group of students who have been nominated by their teachers, and will work with Mary to better access and understand the books they read together.

The Hooked on Books group is open to applications from any Year 8 student who loves reading. With Mary's support, the group will explore the language and themes of a range of books over the course of the year.

Patron of Writing: Elaine Baker

As our DGS Patron of Writing, Elaine Baker works alongside students and staff to inspire and stimulate creative writing across the school, as well as to promote the writing profession as a potential future career pathway for students.

ElaineElaine has been a story writer since the age of around six years old. She has always had a particular passion for poetry and after studying Creative Writing with the Open University in 2009, began submitting work for publication. In the last five years, she has had continued success with publication and has completed her first poetry collection. She has an MA in writing poetry from Newcastle University/The Poetry School, and regularly performs her work at events. She has collaborated with the Oxford Improvisers and is currently Poet-In-Residence at the Vale and Downland Museum, Wantage. Elaine is a qualified teacher and has taught poetry at The Poetry School, London. She runs a local poetry evening course for adults and is delighted to inspire, support and mentor young writers through her role as Patron of Writing here at DGS and also, from 2019, at St Birinus School.

Find out more about Elaine’s work here. You can follow Elaine’s poet tweets on Twitter @kitespotter.

Elaine is very excited to be launching a competition to find this year's Lower School Poet Laureate! Take a look at the video below for more information.



Back to Top