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.

Book-related resources and activities for students learning from home:

Access e-books and audiobooks through your public library membership with BorrowBox

Harry Potter choose your own adventure

Ideas and resources from World Book Day

Free books from Audible including Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Quizzes, tips and activities from Book Trust

News and current affairs for students from The Day - please email Mrs Barnes for login details to access the full site

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.

Click here for opening hours for Year 7 Week A and Week B.

Click here for opening hours for Year 8 Week A and Week B.

Click here for opening hours for Year 9 Week A and Week B.

Click here for opening hours for Year 10.

Click here for opening hours for Year 11 Week A and Week B.

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.

The Book Selector and Genre Booklets found in the library are also excellent resources for helping students to find books they enjoy. Click here for book recommendations based on other books students have read and enjoyed.

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.

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.

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

WBD poster for websiteWe have a huge amount going on to celebrate World Book Day this year! On Monday 2nd March, Year 7 will enjoy a talk from former DGS Patron of Reading and award-winning author Jo Cotterill, followed by a workshop for selected students on creating characters. Author of dystopian thrillers, Teri Terry will be talking to Year 8 students on Tuesday 3rd. Both authors will be available to sign books in the library at break time on the day of their visit.

World Book Day itself is on Thursday 5th March, and we are encouraging students to come to school dressed as their favourite book character, for a £1 donation to Book Trust. Participating students should come to the library at lunchtime for their chance to win house points and prizes for the best costumes.

On Friday 6th March, our Patron of Reading, Mary Stevens, is holding a creative writing masterclass! To be in with a chance of gaining a place, students in all year groups are invited to take part in our short story competition. Entries should be 500 words or less, and must be handed to the Library Manager, Mrs Barnes, by Friday 28th February.

Short story comp

GobletThis year's Harry Potter Book Night 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.



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