News from The Arthur Holt Library

One of the takeaways from the recent Year 9 Learning Conversations was the number of parents who wished their sons read more. One such parent complained that her son had devoured the entire Harry Potter series while in Junior School, but since joining the Middle School had barely opened a book that wasn’t prescribed by his English teacher.

It’s a growing problem that has been dubbed ‘aliteracy’ by a number of researchers in this area. Whereas ‘illiteracy’ refers to an inability to read and write, ‘aliteracy’ refers to those students who are (often extremely) able to read and write but choose not to. Drawing these lapsed readers back to books is one of our greatest challenges in The Arthur Holt Library, but we do have a number of strategies in place that we hope will help.

First, we have challenged the entire Year 9 cohort to complete the Premier’s Reading Challenge for the very last time. We hope that by registering them all on their behalf, reminding them that this is the last year that they can officially enter and encouraging some healthy competition, we might see more of them return to reading.

We have also launched a Middle School book group called Arthur’s Readers, which we hope will bring more student voice into the library. The boys are currently reading advance copies of pre-publication books so that they might decide which ones we should add to the collection. By accommodating student choice like this, we can stay relevant to our borrowers and invite their recommends.

We have also built up our collection of Audio Books over the past year. It’s worth remembering that they are a great way for those boys who can’t find the time or the inclination to read to stay connected to story and to build up their interest in books.

“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.”

– Kate DiCamillo

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