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.
Follow the DGS Library on Twitter for exciting updates about library events and all-things books!
Library Opening Hours
Monday - Thursday: 8:30 - 16:15
Friday: 8:30 - 14:30
The Library is open before school, at break time and lunch time, and after school, for students to study, read and borrow books.
The 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.
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.
Reading for Pleasure
As well as boosting literacy skills, Reading for Pleasure has proven mental health benefits. Each class in Year 7 and 8 will have 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 will 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.
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.
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 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.
She 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.
Elaine 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.