Carnegie Long List announced

The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children.

The long list was  published and I could hardly wait!

Last year I set myself the challenge to read all the long list before the winner was announced  – and although it felt like an impossible task at times, I actually managed to do it!

I have stopped myself from starting a new book this half term because I want to start straight away – I’m so keen I kept checking the Carnegie website all morning but there was no news until midday

If I have counted correctly there are 68 books on this years list – that’s a lot of quick reading.

Any books that the MRC doesn’t yet have we’ll be buying in (not just for me) but for all students to have access to as these are likely to be the ‘best’ books published this past year.

Again I’ll be sharing my experiences and thoughts on each book on this blog. Will I be able to predict the overall winner again? Probably not! Will I actually be able to read them all this time?

I’d better get reading!

The Reading Agenda

Last week during the Staff Training Days we introduced to teachers the Reading Agenda and the RWC (M) as mentioned frequently in the new Ofsted inspections. RWC(M) = Reading, Writing, Communication and Maths.


As part of this I had a slot to show:


  • how important the role of tutor/teacher is – with them reading during SSR sessions (Sustained Silent Reading or DEAR) rather than marking, doing admin tasks, their students are likely to perform 10-20% in reading tests.


  • What the MRC is doing this academic year to support and promote Reading for Pleasure


  • Some of the MRC services that are available to staff to support ‘Literacy Across the Curriculum’ as Ofsted Inspectors are asking individual subject teachers “What are you doing to support Reading for PLeasure in your subject?”



Summer Reading: Avoid the Summer Dip

It is well documented that over the long Summer Holidays the reading ages of students can and does drop.


This puts you at the disadvantage of having to play catch-up when you come back next academic year.



To stay ahead of the game, and keep your reading levels the same – or even increasing all you need to do is keep reading.



One book a week, of your choice, is a great challenge to set yourself. Borrow a few from the MRC, read some of your favourite books from home; pop into your local library and experiment with new authors.


What ever you do happy holidays and keep reading!



After all…..


I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe . . . Amzanig huh! Psas It ON!

Summer Reading








Dear Students,



Whilst you are sunning yourselves on the beach, or huddled together under a dripping umbrella, over the long, long summer holidays, please keep you bright minds in tip-top condition by doing a bit of reading.








Don’t be beaten by that summer time monster – the “Summer Dip”, instead borrow some books from the MRC to keep you going, entertained and enthralled over the long summer break.









As long as you have no overdue books you’ll be able to borrow over the break  – go on find something good to read.

Just ask if you want some recommendations!

Ms. M!




Coming Soon…. Poet Terry Caffrey

As part of our annual Literary Festival the MRC has arranged for Poet Terry Caffrey to spend the day with our Year 7 Students on 28th June. (Today!)

He has written the lyrics to the Children’s Olympic song so the olympics will be a theme for his session.

I for one am looking forward to his visit as he is quite animated when he reads his poems out.

Check out his website to watch / listen and read all about him!


Booked! – Free Magazine

Last week we distributed the ‘Booked’ magazine to all our Year 7, 8 and 9 students.


This free magazine included an interview with JLS (so that kept a lot of their fans happy) alongside book reviews, author, series and book profiles.

All good things to help promote reading for pleasure.



These were circulated via your tutors – but if you missed out – just pop into the MRC as we have a few spare copies.

World Book Night

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?)

Drop in on DEAR 4.1

The current focus of the Authors Page on the DEAR Homepage is…

World Book Day!


Promo Video for the £1 Books!


Promo Video for the Book Posters in unusual places!


Staff Christmas Challenge

During the last week before the Christmas Holidays I set all Tutors a reading challenge.


Could they read a young adult book from the MRC over the Christmas Holidays which they could then talk to their tutor group about. (They didn’t have to like the book but they would need to be able to tell them what they didn’t like and why!)


They had three choices…


1. Tell me what genre you like to read and I’ll find something similar.

2. I can try and link the book in with your subject.

3. Opt for pot luck and I’ll issue you with something random.


I created a Reading Challenge bookmark for each option and as responses came in I wrote their name on these before heading to the shelves to pick a book. This was the most enjoyable part – picking the right book (hopefully) for each tutor. The next best thing was feeling like Father Christmas when I delivered books to pigeon holes around the Academy. The present a good book to read!


 33 tutors took up the challenge and as feedback comes in I’ll be creating a poster for each Tutor/Book containing the book cover and staff photo along with a quote. These can be displayed in the teachers class/tutor room and I’ll promote them on the Academy screens.

Original idea from SLN

Carnegie Long List continued

I’m setting myself the challenge to read all of the books on the long list before the winner is announced. 52 titles in 6 months. That’s 2 a week….. I’d better get reading!

Since my last post I have read….


 Artichoke Hearts by Sita Brahmachari

A surprisingly good read. I had expected it to be overtly ‘girly’ but instead it is the story of Mira and the approaching death of her Grandmother. Full of gentle humour, and looking at the close relationship between them, this story is a really good read, and although I didn’t cry I found the moments when her Grandmother says goodbye for the last time to people and friends as she goes about her dasily life poignant.

Quarry by Ally Kennen

A strange tale. Largely unsatisfying. Scrappy – the lead character recieves increasingly bizarre dares via his phone, so he has a go at doing them. The mystery is who is sending these texts and why. Naturally, set against a background of recent parental separation (why the mother doesn’t do more to look after him I reallt do not understand!) he feels he has no one to turn to – apart from the school bully…. The reveal is both unexpected, and yet such a let down.

 Caddys World by Hilary McKay

I’m fairly sure that if I had read all the books that this prequal links to then Im sure I might have  laughed at the in jokes, and spotted moments of “Oh that’s why….” As it was it was an okay story about four girls as their lives slowly change for a different reasons. If you liked Saffy or Indigos story then you’ll proberably enjoy this book too!



Books I’ve read so far….