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 more book related content and opportunities.
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:
Our 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.
Our 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:
LGBTQ genre pack - while a huge variety of genres can feature LGBTQ characters and storylines, this is an easy way for students to find these stories, which many have requested.
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
As 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.
This year, we launched our Reading Aloud in Student Guidance Time scheme with Year 8 students, following a successful trial with this cohort last year. Led by tutors reading the text aloud, Year 7 students read 'Alices' Adventures in Wonderland' by Lewis Carroll, while Year 8 students read 'The Ruby in the Smoke' by Philip Pullman. Students are supported with definitions of key vocabulary and images of particular settings or objects to help them to access, process and understand the novels.
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.
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.
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 some 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. Please get in touch with Mrs Barnes for the school's login details for full access to this valuable resource.
Reading Ambassadors and clubs
The Reading Ambassadors are a group of the school's keenest readers, who meet on a weekly basis to discuss their favourite books and current reads. 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.
Our Year 7 club are currently reading the books shortlisted for this year's Carnegie Award and will watch the live-streamed ceremony on 16th June.
Our Year 8 book club are reading the books shortlisted for this year's Secondary category in the Oxfordshire Book Awards and hope to be able to attend the awards ceremony in October.
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.
Patron of Reading: Mary Stevens
We are thrilled that Mary Stevens will continue her tenure as DGS Patron of Reading into 2020-21!
This year, Mary will be working with Year 8 and Year 9 book groups to support them in their exploration and discussion of texts.
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.
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.
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