News from the Arthur Holt Library

This week in The Arthur Holt Library, we launched our Year 7 Wide Reading programme – a sequence of timetabled lessons designed to get boys reading more (and more widely). It’s always a popular unit with both students and staff, so we thought we might share some of the research-based strategies that underpin it.

In her 2018 article for ‘The Conversation’ literacy researcher Margaret Merga identified six strategies that she believes are crucial to fostering good reading in habits in boys. The first is to match them with reading material in which they are genuinely interested – and who better to do this than the boys themselves. With this in mind, we open our Wide Reading programme by asking the boys to recommend books they have enjoyed to the rest of their class. It doesn’t matter if it’s part of a fantasy series, a crime novel or a collection of short stories, as long as they have enjoyed it.

Merga also argues that schools should provide access to libraries during class time to ensure that all boys are guaranteed access to books, regardless of their current interest level. She also stresses the importance of continuing to read with and to boys even once they have mastered silent reading for themselves. We worked closely with the English department to ensure that we could timetable three lessons in the library for each boy. We also ensure that the library staff and English teachers model good reading habits through their own recommends and take part in the lesson alongside the boys.

Merga’s research has also revealed that most boys still prefer paper books and that providing opportunities and expectations for silent reading is an essential part of encouraging boys to read. In our programme we ask that each boy borrow a book from our collection and we dedicate class time to silent reading to start them off with their reading. Again, the teachers are encouraged to borrow and read alongside them.

The programme will conclude in the last week of term with the boys choosing whether they want to write a review of the book they have read or record a short video as part of our ‘This Book Changed My Life’ series. We look forward to seeing the results!

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.”– Charles W. Eliot

Lent Term has begun and our “This Book Changed my Life” project is going strong!

The end of 2020 saw us receive some wonderful submissions from big names:

  • Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP had her life changed by Jane Austen
  • Trinity favourite, author Oliver Phommovanh’s life was changed by Nintendo adventure books’ Dinosaur Dilemma
  • Legendary Australian author and illustrator Isobelle Carmody credits Russell Hoban’s book The Mouse and His Child with inspiring her sense of determination as a child
  • Suzanne Daniel, author of Allegra in Three Parts, loved Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World
  • Acclaimed YA author Will Kostakis credits his passion about writing to his love of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series

In addition to those notable entries, we have received many submissions from Trinity students, families and staff. We know that each and every one of you has a book that changed your life in one way or another, so tell us about it by submitting your short video using the instructions below.

News Flash!

Congratulations to Vicki Courtnenay for being awarded the SLANSW Teacher Librarian of the Year 2020! Read more here


Related Articles

Head Master's Bulletin

Advance Notice for Compulsory Home Games 2021

The Compulsory Home Game information in the Record Book is incorrect and the new dates are…

Head Master's Bulletin

Senior School Sports Fixtures

Click here to view this week’s sport fixtures

Head Master's Bulletin

From the Head Master

I took part in a panel discussion recently, in which I was asked the question ‘What…