I was lucky enough to be selected as a World Book Night Giver this year.
My application was to balance all the giveaways we have in place for students in Keystage 3 and 4 – Booked Up (RIP), World Book Day etc. This was my chance to target Post 16 and I wrote…
“We are all aware of the serious drop off in reading that take place during the later teenage years, and anything that counters this is worth doing. I love Bryson’s writing style which is very approachable.”
So why do I think it is so important to encourage readers in this age group?
It is really easy to fall out of the reading habit during the busy and exciting time during the later teenage years. We can all remember the new opportunities – learning to drive and the freedom of going where you want to with friends, buying your first (legal) drink when you turn 18, the opposite sex, first love and heartbreak.
On top of this heady mix is the pressure of studying, exams, and part time work. When you are struggling with all this, and often more, you can always fall back onto a book for support. From outright escapism (and don’t we all need that from time to time), to walking in someone else’s shoes, who are going through similar experiences or experiencing something completely different!
Books and reading are an important part of the rich tapestry of life, and one that often wanes once you ‘can’ read, and no longer ‘have to read’. It’s difficult to compete with all those distractions – but it is worth diving into a good book once in a while- as they could take you anywhere!
The Book I chose was “Notes from a Small Island” by Bill Bryson – simply because it made me laugh out loud. I could relate to his experiences when he wrote about places I too had visited, and I was interested in reading about places I hadn’t been too yet.
Giving the books turned out to be easier than I thought… I delved into the SixthForm study centre during lunch and went around chatting to students about their reading habits. To those who considered themselves to be a reluctant readers I explained about World Book Night and talked about “Notes from a Small Island”. Only three students refused to accept a book. And many avid readers were a bit miffed that I wouldn’t give them a book! I kept a few books back to reward sixthformers who actively supported our DEAR initiative within their tutor groups but who wasn’t an avid reader themselves- and these were well recieved too.
So I’ve sent my fleglings out into the big bad world – I wonder where they will travel (and who will the books take with them on their journey?)